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Volume 6 No. 216


At least two people "have reportedly been killed after a crane crashed into a World Cup stadium" in São Paulo, according to Donna Bowater of the London TELEGRAPH. Local media reported the last metal piece of the roof was being installed at the Corinthians stadium "when the ground gave way and the crane collapsed into part of the stands." Odebrecht is "the construction firm responsible for the arena," which is "due to host the opening match at the 2014 World Cup." Odebrecht "confirmed two workers were killed but military police in Sao Paulo said there were three deaths." Major Mauro Lopes said, "According to the operations center, three dead bodies were found." One of the workers at the site, Adilan Freitas, 30, told news website G1 that he "was far from crane when the accident happened but could still hear the noise." Freitas: "I just heard the sound of the panel cracking" (TELEGRAPH, 11/27). In London, John Drayton reported the stadium was formally called Arena Corinthians, but known locally as "Itaquerao." Odebrecht recently said that the arena "was 94 percent complete." An Odebrecht spokesperson "declined immediate comment" (DAILY MAIL, 11/27). The AP reported "work was immediately halted" after the accident. Odebrecht said it was "already investigating what happened (AP, 11/27). REUTERS' Eduardo Simões noted photos taken by local media "appeared to show significant damage caused by the fallen crane to the outside of the stadium." It was "not immediately clear if the damage could pose a major delay to opening the stadium" (REUTERS, 11/27).

IMMEDIATE REACTION: The BBC reported the arena "was due to be completed at the end of December" to meet a FIFA deadline. Corinthians, the club that will move into the new stadium, said in a short statement that it "deeply regrets the accident." FIFA President Sepp Blatter said he was "deeply saddened by the tragic deaths." FIFA Secretary General Jerome Valcke said, "Extremely shocked by the news from Sao Paulo. Our thoughts are with the families of the victims of this accident" (BBC, 11/27). Hours after the incident, FIFA issued a statement that read: "We wish to send our heartfelt condolences to the family of the workers who tragically died today. The safety of workers is the top priority for FIFA, the LOC [Local Organising Committee] and the federal government. We know the safety of all workers has always been paramount for all the construction companies contracted to build the 12 FIFA World Cup stadiums. Please understand that we are in no position to comment further at this stage, as we are awaiting further details from the authorities" (FIFA).

ANOTHER SETBACK: In London, James Hider reported the accident is "the latest blow to Brazil’s plans for the tournament, which is due to start in just seven months." The preparations "have been plagued by delays, cost over-runs, and big public demonstrations against social inequality." Some construction sites, such as a new terminal at São Paulo’s international airport, "are being built around the clock seven days a week to try to finish them before the tournament begins" (LONDON TIMES, 11/27).

Israel's southernmost city, Eilat, "is set to become a center of sporting activity" after the Ministerial Committee on Development of the Negev and the Galilee approved on Monday almost NIS 50M ($14M) worth of funding to build the first stage of a new sports complex, according to the JERUSALEM POST. The complex, when completed, will help Eilat bid to host major int'l events "while providing local athletes with quality facilities in which to train." Minister of Culture & Sport Limor Livnat said, "The building of the complex is an example of the use of sports to boost a city by strengthening its economy and tourism." The project's budget "will be split between the governmental ministries," NIS 17M ($4.8M), the Toto, NIS 20M ($5.7M) and the Eilat municipality, NIS 12M ($3.5M) (JERUSALEM POST, 11/27).

The A-League Central Coast Mariners' "controversial plan to play some home games at North Sydney Oval next season has hit an early hurdle," according to Dominic Bossi of the SYDNEY MORNING HERALD. Football Federation of Australia said that it "will not allow the matches at the venue unless it undergoes major renovations, including upgrades to the playing surface." Mariners were "exploring the benefits of moving some home games to the venue as part of a strategic push into Sydney's northern suburbs." If the Mariners are satisfied they can draw a crowd at North Sydney, the "pressing issue will become the standard of the oval, with A-League boss Damien de Bohun on Tuesday echoing the FFA's stance and ruling out relocating games unless there was an overhaul of the poor facilities and the playing field." De Bohun: ''There's some serious work [required] to get North Sydney Oval to that stage. The facilities, the infrastructure, obviously there's a cricket [pitch] in the middle of the ground." Mariners Owner Mike Charlesworth confirmed on Monday the club's losses of approximately A$1M ($900,000) a year had "prompted him to explore having a greater presence in Sydney's northern suburbs to attract more fans" (SMH, 11/27).

The city of Paris and Ligue 1 club Paris St. Germain released a combined statement on Tuesday saying that they "have reached an agreement allowing the club to permanently remain at the Parc des Princes," according to LE PARISIEN. The new agreement will allow PSG to stay at the stadium for another 30 years. The extension will also allow the club "to embark on an ambitious renovation of the Parc des Princes for Euro 2016." The city said that the club currently pays a fee of  €400,000 ($544,000). This fee is expected to increase to about €1.5M ($2M) at the end of '14 (LE PARISIEN, 11/26). The PA reported the deal, which still needs to be formally ratified by the Paris St. Germain Administrative Council and the Paris Council, "also includes plans for a renovation of the stadium which has been operating in its current capacity since 1972." A club statement read, "This modernization of the venue will affect all areas of the Parc des Princes and ensure a first-class viewing experience for the ever-increasing number of supporters and excellent working conditions for, amongst others, the media" (PA, 11/26).