Brazil Dealing With Stadium Renovation Issues As '14 World Cup, '16 Olympics Beckon
Brazil's preparations for the '14 World Cup and the '16 Olympic Games "ran into more trouble yesterday" when authorities closed Estádio Olímpico João Havelange because of "structural problems with its roof," according to Dom Phillips of the LONDON TIMES. Rio de Janeiro Mayor Eduardo Paes said that the stadium would "be closed indefinitely." He added that the problems "represented a risk for fans," and the stadium would "remain closed until it was given the all clear." Officials said that the stadium would "not now be used for the Confederations Cup in June or for the 2014 World Cup, and Botafago and other Rio clubs were looking for alternative venues." The stadium opened in '07 for the Pan Am Games and "was considered the most modern sporting venue in Latin America" (LONDON TIMES, 3/28). Meanwhile, in London, Scott-Elliot & Sandy write England's men's national soccer team is "due to play Brazil in the refurbished Maracana Stadium in Rio on 2 June but it is still undergoing major building work and is unlikely to meet its 27 April completion deadline." Reports in Rio suggest that it "will not be finished" until May 25. FIFA is due to "take over the Maracana" on May 27 for the Confederations Cup. The April deadline was "supposed to allow time to stage a test event before England arrive and any delay into May will raise questions over whether an adequate test can be conducted." If completion is delayed, the England game "may have to be used as one of the test events in front of a reduced capacity crowd." The Maracana's US$571M upgrade was "supposed to be finished before Christmas but has fallen further and further behind schedule." The Olympic Stadium would have "offered an ideal fall-back if the Maracana is not ready" (London INDEPENDENT, 3/28).