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FIFA: Itaquerão Stadium in São Paulo Will Not Be Ready Until April

12/06/2013 - 09h18

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BERNARDO ITRI
MARCEL RIZZO
SÉRGIO RANGEL
REPORT EXCLUSIVELY FROM COSTA DO SAUIPE

The FIFA President Joseph Blatter revealed on Thursday that the Itaquerão stadium, in São Paulo, will not be ready until mid-April. Last week, an accident involving a crane damaged part of the structure and killed two construction workers.

Roof Falls and Destroys Part of Itaquerão Bleachers; Builder Confirms Deaths

"The only stadium that may not be ready before the 14th of April is the arena in São Paulo. All the others will be ready by then. As for the stadium in São Paulo, we have no choice but to wait. There is no other plan, for now," Blatter said.

"What can FIFA do? FIFA can pray to God, to Allah, to whomever it may be, that there occur no more accidents related to the World Cup. This is the only thing we can do," he added.

If the stadium is to be ready for the test event on April 14, the building work must be complete by the beginning of the month.

The São Paulo football club Corinthians, which owns the rights to the stadium, and the construction company Odebrecht, had both expected the stadium to be ready by the end of January or the beginning of February.

However, on Thursday, Odebrecht confirmed that the work will not be finished until April.

If the original deadline were met, the test event could be brought forward. These events permit the evaluation of various technical elements related to the stadium, such as public access, playing surface and lighting, among others.

FIFA had hoped that all the World Cup stadiums would be completed by December, but of the six still under construction, four will not be ready until next year.

As well as the Itaquerão, the other stadiums to be granted an extended deadline are the Arena Pantanal in Cuiabá, the Arena da Baixada in Curitiba and the Beira-Rio in Porto Alegre.

The Arena Amazonia in Manaus and the Arena das Dunas in Natal should be ready by the end of December, but they will not be inaugurated until next year, as there is no space in President Dilma Rousseff's agenda for the opening ceremonies.

The stadiums which have been completed are those which were used in the Confederations Cup: the Maracanã, Mané Garrincha, Fonte Nova, Mineirão and Castelão.

Translated by TOM GATEHOUSE

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