Sao Paulo Stadium That Will Host World Cup Opener Not Ready For Test Event
The stadium that will host the opening match of the 2014 World Cup "will not stage a test match in front of a full house before the tournament kicks off on June 12 because of building work being carried out in the arena," according to Andrew Downie of REUTERS. The Arena Corinthians was built to hold 48,000 and another 20,000 temporary seats "are being added for the World Cup." But with work in and around the ground still ongoing, 18,000 seats "will be left empty for the test event" featuring Corinthians and Figueirense on either May 17 or 18. Sao Paulo Deputy Mayor Nadia Campeao said, "The crowd (for the test match), under an agreement between Corinthians and LOC (Local Organising Committee) and FIFA, will be 50,000 people." There "were contradictory statements" from FIFA Secretary General Jerome Valcke about the issue on Tuesday. Valcke wrote on Twitter, "Next important event for us will be on 17 or 18 May when the first official test with full capacity will take place at Arena de Sao Paulo." But when challenged about the capacity for the test event, Valcke admitted "there would not be a full house and highlighted that South Africa also staged events before the 2010 tournament in front of reduced crowds" (REUTERS, 4/22).