World Cup Itaquerao Stadium 97% Completed, Should Be Ready By April
FIFA Secretary General Jerome Valcke yesterday visited Itaquerao stadium in Sao Paulo, Brazil, to "begin FIFA's first inspection tour of the year" in advance of June's World Cup, according to Tales Azzoni of the AP. Valcke will "visit three other host cities before meeting with local organizers in Rio de Janeiro on Thursday." Local authorities said that the stadium is 97% "completed, with nearly 30,000 of the nearly 70,000 seats already installed." Azzoni noted the stadium is "not expected to be ready until mid-April, about two months" before the event. Valcke said, "In a way I would say the pressure is a little bit bigger here. It's the first game. It has to be a success. The world will be watching." Valcke said that he was "satisfied with the work at the venue and expects there will be enough time for test events after its completion in April." The Itaquerao "made headlines in November after a crane collapsed while hoisting a 500-ton roofing structure," killing two workers and "causing significant construction delays." The venue was "among the six that missed the December deadline established by FIFA for all World Cup stadiums" (AP, 1/20).