Struggles continue for Brazil ahead of World Cup deadline
Stadiums might not make it in time for the event in 2014
The Associated Press Posted: Nov 30, 2013 9:49 AM ET Last Updated: Nov 30, 2013 12:22 PM ET
A crane collapsed during construction at Itaquerao Stadium on November 27, 2013 in Sao Paulo, Brazil. (Ricardo Bufolin/Getty Images)
From the moment a crane dramatically collapsed at the Sao Paulo stadium, it was clear World Cup organizers would have their hands full trying to deliver all 12 venues by FIFA’s end-of-December deadline.
The giant crane buckled when hoisting a 500-ton metal structure that came crushing on top of the stadium, clipping part of the roof and cutting through a huge LED panel that runs across the venue’s outer facade.
The ravaged crane was seen resting on the ground outside the stadium, while the enormous metal roofing piece stayed atop part of the stands.
Clearly it wasn’t just a minor setback for the venue that will host the 2014 World Cup opener on June 12.
Two workers died in Wednesday’s accident, which immediately raised doubts about Brazil’s preparedness to host football’s showcase event. The timing could not have been worse, putting the country under even more pressure just days before the international footballing community begins arriving for a high-profile World Cup draw.
But as bad as the tragedy was at the Arena Corinthians, Sao Paulo is not the only problem for World Cup organizers just weeks before all stadiums must be delivered.
Actually, work in Sao Paulo was almost finished when the accident happened. It was one of the most advanced venues among the six that must be delivered this year.
The story is different in Curitiba, Cuiaba and the jungle city of Manaus, where there are signs they might not make it in time despite claims by local organizers that all three venues will be ready as expected.
FIFA says it will have a better idea of what will be delivered next week, just ahead of Friday’s World Cup draw in Costa do Sauipe.
“Next week the preliminary updates on the operations of the 2014 FIFA World Cup will be provided for all operational and infrastructural areas,” football’s governing body said. “Following these assessments and presentations FIFA will provide an update.”
Skepticism about Brazil’s ability to deliver the stadiums intensified after organizers failed to keep their promise ahead of the Confederations Cup, when only two of the six venues were completed by the original FIFA deadline. FIFA made it clear it would not tolerate the same delays that plagued the warm-up tournament and, with about 1 million tickets already sold, football’s governing body says there is no Plan B for the World Cup.
“Further inspections and assessments will occur in December and January to assess the stadiums, along with the months leading up to the FIFA World Cup,” FIFA said.
Workers are running against time in venues across the country.
In the wetlands city of Cuiaba, there is an ongoing court battle over the supplier of seats for the Arena Pantanal, meaning at any moment a judge can stop construction. The initial bidding process for the seats was suspended just a few months ago over prosecutors’ claims they were overpriced. Local organizers said the seats must start being installed by Dec. 20 at the latest.
In addition, a recent visit to the construction site showed there was a lot of work still left for the final few weeks. Just until recently, the roof was still not finished and the pitch was yet to be installed at the stadium, which was 90 per cent completed in the end of November, according to local officials.
The situation was similar in Manaus, where authorities said the Arena Amazonia was 91 per cent completed by the end of November. Organizers are expecting to deliver the venue on Dec. 20.
Manaus is one of the host cities that had to make changes to the original project to stand a chance of making the FIFA deadline. Some of the stadium’s features will only be added after the World Cup.
Organizers in southern Curitiba gave up on installing a retractable roof that was in the original design. FIFA made the request to remove the roof from the World Cup project because it would not be finished in time and would delay the overall construction.
The stadium was only 85 per cent completed by October, according to the latest numbers released by organizers.
Work at the Arena das Dunas in the northeastern city of Natal was nearly 95 per cent completed, while construction at the Beira-Rio Stadium in southern Porto Alegre was just behind that pace. The stadiums in Salvador, Fortaleza, Belo Horizonte, Recife, Rio de Janeiro and Brasilia were ready for the Confederations Cup in June.
Nearly all of the stadiums came over budget, though, another reason for widespread criticism in Brazil. The latest numbers by the government show that all 12 venues will cost a total of $3.4 billion, significantly higher than the $2.2 billion estimated in late 2010. Last year, the cost for the stadiums was estimated at $3 billion.
The most recent estimate still doesn’t account for the increase that will likely happen in the cost of the Arena Corinthians because of the accident. The venue was estimated at $350 million before the crane collapsed.
My reflection on Current Event # 6:
S. I see a photograph of the crane collapsed during construction at Itaquerao Stadium on November 27, 2013 in Sao Paulo, Brazil.
H. What is happening to my feelings as I read the article are rage and anger at FIFA officials because how could FIFA be so inconsiderate by not having a few FIFA supervisors on hand at all times therefore if FIFA could have spared the expense for a couple of FIFA supervisors this accident, could have been avoided at all costs.
O. I can relate this to my own life because I follow each and every FIFA World Cup and the accident in Brazil saddens me because I know have learned that an international organization like FIFA cannot seem or does not want to spare the expenses or the labour make sure that preparations for the World Cup are in a safe environment for the workers who are constructing the stadium. But as we can see this not the case with FIFA as they didn’t even bother to check like the weather forecast and besides they set an unreasonable deadline for the stadiums of the 2014 FIFA World Cup to be done by, therefore causing the workers to rush through their tasks.
W. We face these problems because an international organization like FIFA isn’t going to be questioned when they say ” Oh, we have a lot of supervisors on site.” But I say that’s a load of rubbish, if they had supervisors on site, could this disaster have been avoided and the death of 2 people as well could have been avoided if proper measures were taken as well as if there was actually a FIFA supervisor on hand to supervise the building of the stadium, they could have seen the signs that maybe they should have postponed construction.
E. The 2014 FIFA World Cup will be hosted in Brazil in 12 different venues. 32 teams have qualified for the event. The draw for the groups that the teams will play in for the group stage will be decided in Brazil on December 5, 2013.
D. What we as a nation can do about this issue is that we can attempt to boycott the reconstruction process of the Itaquerao Stadium in Sao Paulo, Brazil, and tell the public that FIFA didn’t have any sort of personal on site so that they could see if they had to halt construction due to any conditions such as weather etc. and thus could have prevented this horrible disaster from ever happening in the 1st place. If we can tell the Canadian federal gov’t about this maybe we can get some change for standards at which FIFA operates by not providing any supervisors that could have foreseen that given the weather in Brazil in November it might have been a smart idea to have stopped construction before something that could have gone wrong did go wrong. If we band together maybe just maybe we can we get actual FIFA supervisors on site to actually see what negligence they had not to stop the construction, they might have actually saved a couple of million dollars in repairs and two lives as well. If FIFA didn’t need to have such a ridiculous deadline for all the stadiums for 2014 FIFA World Cup to completed by it would have been great because it would have put pressure on the workers to overlook errors that they would not have overlooked if they had not been rushed and on a tight schedule.