With World Cup competition slated to begin June 12, construction crews are rushing to finish Sao Paulo’s Corinthians Arena, where the first match is scheduled for Thursday.
Deadlines have seriously slipped on the 61,600-capacity venue, where Brazil will host Croatia in a very high-profile start to the world tournament. It originally was scheduled to be completed on December 1, but as of this weekend crews were working around the clock to apply final touches to the stadium. From AFP:
The 61,600-capacity stadium has come to symbolize Brazil’s struggle to be ready on time for the World Cup as authorities scramble to finish five of the tournament’s 12 venues.
The original deadline was December 31, but preparations have been hit by chronic delays, cost overruns and construction accidents that killed eight workers, including three in Sao Paulo.
The Corinthians Arena has never been tested at full capacity due to the delays in the two temporary stands, which together will welcome a total of 20,000 fans.
Despite the last-minute work — which, it seems, follows any large-scale stadium project these days — crews say the stadium should be done, even as soon as Tuesday.
Brazil, which is certainly a soccer-crazy country with some pressing social concerns, committed $11 billion to stadium upgrades for World Cup matches.
Image of Corinthians Arena under construction in December 2012 via flickr.com.