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Volume 6 No. 214


Rio de Janeiro's João Havelange stadium "has been closed due to problems in the structure of the roof," according to Curvello & Raimundi of GLOBO. The news comes "six years after the stadium's inauguration." The arena cost R$376M ($186M) when it was built. The company responsible for the maintenance of the stadium, OAS-Odebrecht, "will now do an analysis of the entire structure of the roof to identify the problems and find solutions." Rio Mayor Eduardo Paes said, "I will only re-open the stadium when a definite solution has been found, and that the appropriate works and measures have been taken" (GLOBO, 3/27). GLOBO also reported Paes was not concerned about having to completely demolish the stadium. Paes said, "No this is not a risk, it is a problem with the roofing" (GLOBO, 3/27). MEIO & MENSAGEM reported Brasileiro club Botafogo, which won the bidding for a 20 year lease on the stadium back in '07, "is going to accumulate damages." On top of having to pay its monthly fee of R$400,000 ($198,000) without being able to use the arena, the team "will lose out on revenue from renting the stadium to other clubs and hosting events." The stadium's sponsors, including beer brand Brahma, "will also suffer from the loss of exposure" (MEIO & MENSAGEM, 3/27).

EMBARRASSMENT? In London, Jonathan Watts wrote local officials said there was "no danger of a collapse of the 46,000-capacity stadium," which was built by a consortium headed by Odebrecht and OAS. However, the flawed construction of a facility that was "completed over-budget and over-time just six years ago is an embarrassment for a city that is gearing up to host a double-header of huge sporting events" (GUARDIAN, 3/27). Also in London, Mark Cue wrote despite the enforced closure, the IOC insists that it is “absolutely confident” the venue will be completed in time to stage the track and field events with Olympic organizers in Brazil also expressing “full confidence” that Rio will be ready (LONDON TIMES, 3/27). REUTERS' Rodrigo Viga Gaier reported the "first event to be affected" was Wednesday’s Carioca championship match between Brazilian champions Fluminense and Macae (REUTERS, 3/26). XINHUA wrote the announcement follows an assessment by an unnamed private construction company, which said the stadium posed a safety risk due to "cracks" and "movement" in the roof's support structure. Paes added, "The [construction] consortium has shown me what the problems are but at this stage there is still no proposal for a solution" (XINHUA, 3/27). The PA reported Paes said officials would investigate what caused the problem "so those responsible could be held accountable." He said that it could be an issue "linked to the original project of the stadium" (PA, 3/27).

Clothing company ESPRIT "has canceled its naming-rights sponsorship deal for the arena in Dusseldorf, home of Bundesliga club Fortuna Dusseldorf, effective April 30," according to the EXPRESS. An ESPRIT spokesperson "confirmed the contract termination, but did not reveal any additional information." The company, which has been the stadium's naming-rights partner since '09, "had a valid contract" with the arena until '14. Before it became the ESPRIT-Arena, the stadium was know as LTU-Arena (EXPRESS, 3/26).