World Cup Gossip: Building Shut Down in Manaus as Strike Continues

Daniel EdwardsFeatured ColumnistDecember 18, 2013

MANAUS, BRAZIL - DECEMBER 10:  Workers are seen in the roof as construction continues at the Arena Amazonia on December 10, 2013 in Manaus, Brazil. The stadium will host matches during the 2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil.  (Photo by Michael Heiman/Getty Images)
Michael Heiman/Getty Images

Construction workers busy on the Manaus World Cup stadium have voted with their feet after recent tragedies, putting the project on hold just six months before Brazil 2014. 

England manager Roy Hodgson is one man who has spoken out against playing in the sweltering rainforest city, where year-round temperatures average 31 degrees Celsius with 80 percent humidity. "From the coaches I spoke to, we all agree that Manaus is not an ideal place to play football," Hodgson told the BBC.

But preparations for the event in Manaus are causing concern in Brazil and across the football world, following tragedy at the weekend. 

According to the Guardian's Jonathan Watts, builders went on strike at Arena da Amazonia, in protest of pitiful safety conditions at the site. At the weekend, Marcleudo de Melo Ferreira died while working a night shift when a cable snapped, sending the worker plunging 35 metres.

It was the third such fatality this year in Manaus. According to construction spokesman José Aristoteles de Souza Filho, who spoke with Brazilian news website G1 (h/t The Guardian), enough was enough: "The rating for safety in the building site is zero...and we're under constant pressure to work."

The death followed hot on the heels of another tragedy in showpiece stadium Arena Corinthians, Sao Paulo. As reported by Yahoo Sports in November, two workers lost their lives when a crane collapsed in the stadium, while another builder was taken to hospital for injuries sustained in the accident.

Today Miguel Capobiango, head of the local organising committee in the Amazonian city, told Brazilian news network Globo that, while they were hopeful of presenting the finished stadium on time, delays were possible (link is in Portuguese): "Obviously we are all affected by this situation. Now we will support the carrying out of the technical investigation in order to verify work conditions on the site. It is extremely important that workers' security is guaranteed, so that works can continue."

For now, though, tools are down in Manaus. And with the stadium still only 95 percent complete, the worker action and doubts over safety are the last things Brazil needs as the deadline for World Cup readiness looms ever nearer.