World Cup Stadiums Update - Feb 2014

Brazil is set to have 12 stadia hosting FIFA World Cup matches in June and July this year, writes João Frigerio, associate director at MEI. Half of them were inaugurated before the 2013 FIFA Confederations Cup – and despite the fact that some were still criticised for level of services lower than expected, those venues don’t worry FIFA anymore. The governing body for football has many other things to worry about at the moment.

FIFA keeps having a hard time with Brazil – it fears the wave of violent protests that has inflamed the country since last year will delay the event’s organisation, but it is especially concerned about the stadia for the World Cup.

Brazil was deemed by FIFA’s president Joseph Blatter as the one having the most delayed preparations for the competition ever. According to Blatter, the works in Brazil will be even more delayed than at the tournament in South Africa, four years ago.

In an interview to France Football magazine, Blatter also stressed that Brazil was the country that had more time to prepare (seven years), and still managed to be late.

Several workers’ deaths have also tainted stadia construction in Brazil.

So far, five workers have died in the construction sites of the 12 arenas that are being built for the competition in Brazil. Two in Sao Paulo, two in Manaus and one in Brasilia. In comparison, in South Africa, two workers died in the construction of 10 stadia.


Here is an update of progress so far at the host city venues:

Arena da Baixada, Curitiba: The private stadium, owned by Clube Atletico Paranaense is arguably FIFA’s biggest nightmare. Threatened to be removed from the programme until just a few days ago at the time of writing, the arena was confirmed to remain as a World Cup host on 18 February, by FIFA’s secretary general, Jérôme Valcke. The club and people responsible for the works in the arena have received heavy criticism from the world’s governing body and the stadium is now scheduled to be inaugurated on 15 May – less than a month before the beginning of the World Cup.

Arena Pantanal, Cuiabá: With 95% of the works done, the stadium located in the central region of Brazil is also running late. A fire hit the stadium in October 2013 and although the authorities insist that that event did not harm the structures, it certainly helped to delay the works of the stadium scheduled to receive four matches in the group stage.

Arena Amazonas, Manaus: A second death in its construction site, in January, caused another delay of the works in the Arena Amazonas. The work is 97% complete with only the outside layovers and the digital big screens to be installed. 

Arena das Dunas, Natal: Once one of FIFA’s biggest preoccupations – Natal has been threatened with exclusion from the tournament – the stadium is already 100% complete and it has been operating since 22 January. Technically, although the construction has been completed, the Arena das Dunas is not quite ready for the World Cup yet. Temporary stands will be installed in order to expand its capacity to just over 42,000 seats.

Beira-Rio Stadium, Porto Alegre: The temporary structures are the main issue about the most southern Brazilian World Cup venue. The Beira-Rio is a private stadium, owned by Sport Club Internacional, which recently announced that it would not make investments that would be used only during the World Cup. The club is more interested in the legacy post-tournament. As result of the current civil/social unrest in the country, municipal and state governments also want to avoid spending R$30m in temporary installation. After Jerome Valcke’s last visit to the city, the Porto Alegre Mayor, José Fortunati, indicated that the city might end up taking that bill.

Arena Corinthians, Sao Paulo: Scheduled to host the opening of the World Cup, the Sao Paulo venue was hit by the traffic death of two workers in late November 2013, when the crane installing the last part of the roof collapsed. The accident delayed the works in months and the arena is now set to be inaugurated on 15 April. The private stadium – owned by Corinthians – is currently 97% done. 

The stadia used at the Confederations Cup were Fonte Nova, Salvador; Mineirão, Belo-Horizonte; Maracanã, Rio de Janeiro; Castelão, Fortaleza; Arena Pernambuco, São Lourenço da Mata; Mané Garrincha, Brasília.

João Frigerio

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