2014 World Cup Stadium Update: Five Venues Still Incomplete
As is customary for any major sporting event, there are concerns that preparations for the 2014 World Cup are not going to plan.
According to the BBC, three stadia missed their end-of-year completion deadlines, and several sites have been delayed by tragic accidents and delays over safety issues.
The Arena Das Dunas in Natal officially opened on Wednesday, making it the seventh stadium to be completed. The venues in Porto Alegre, Cuiaba, Curitiba, Manaus and Sao Paulo are all awaiting completion—with some raising serious concerns for FIFA.
Here follows an update of each of the 12 World Cup venues, starting with the five that have yet to be signed off.
Arena Corinthians, Sao Paolo (Incomplete)
Arena Corinthians in Sao Paolo—the venue of the World Cup's opening game between Brazil and Croatia on June 12—was due to be completed in December, but a tragic accident in November that killed two workers and caused part of the roof to collapse has delayed the project.
Work has not yet restarted on the collapsed roof, but according to The Daily Mail, former Corinthians president Andres Sanchez has said the stadium is "97 per cent complete." He added:
We have some things pending because of the accident but we've got the all-clear and by the end of the month they will remove the damaged piece. We will hand the stadium over by April 15.
FIFA secretary Jerome Valcke visited the future home of Corinthians earlier this week and said he is "very happy."
The video above was shot on January 19.
Arena Da Baixada, Curitiba (Incomplete)
Progress isn't quite as positive down in Curitiba at the Arena Da Baixada.
On Tuesday the BBC reported that FIFA have threatened to exclude the renovated stadium from the tournament as it is "seriously behind schedule."
During a visit this week, Jerome Valcke said:
Let's be honest. We do not like the current state of the stadium. This is not only delayed, it is way behind schedule.
The privately-owned stadium, home to Atlético Paranaense, is said to be 90 per cent complete. Construction was halted by a Brazilian labour court in October 2013, when a judge was dismayed by the dangerous working conditions.
FIFA will make a decision about its inclusion on February 18.
Estadio Beira-Rio, Porto Alegre (Incomplete)
The Estadio Beira-Rio in Port Alegre has been home to Internacional since 1969, but it has been renovated for World Cup-hosting duties.
The stadium seating will be improved, but the main change is the addition of a roof and large LED screens. According to Brazilian reports from January 14th, the stadium is "97 percent complete" and must be delivered to FIFA by February 28. If all goes to plan, it will be the next World Cup stadium to be completed.
Internacional are hoping to use the stadium later this month, but that plan has been put in jeapardy by the utter failure of safety tests conducted by the Fire Department. A few sources say that only 30 per cent of the necessary safety equipment has thus far been installed at the venue.
Arena Pantanal, Cuiaba (Incomplete)
The Arena Pantanal in Cuiaba will host just under 43,00 fans in four World Cup group games.
The brand-new venue was built on the site of the old Estadio Jose Fragelli at a cost of around $520 million. Ventilation is a key feature of the "green" stadium, as temperatures in Cuiaba can reach 40°C in the summer.
FIFA visited the stadium earlier this week and were pleased to report that it is "almost open for business." Last week, they started installing the seats and the pitch was sown a month-and-a-half ago—they estimate it will be ready for a test match in around 30 days.
The video above was published on January 16.
Arena Amazonia, Manaus (Incomplete)
The Arena Amazonia in Manaus is probably the most controversial of the Brazilian World Cup stadia. It is situated in a relatively remote part of the rainforest in the north of the country, where the summer humidity threatens to stifle players in four group games, including England's opener with Italy.
Work at the futuristic-looking 46,000-seater venue was halted in December when a worker died falling from the roof. According to Brazilian news site Correio do Povo, the stadium was exactly 95.91 per cent complete on January 21. Which seems very precise!
It is due to open in the first half of February, but no specific date or deadline have been given.
Estadio Do Maracana, Rio De Janerio (Complete)
The legendary Maracana, in which nearly 200,000 fans watched Brazil lose the 1950 World Cup Final to Uruguay, has been renovated for 2014, where it will host the Final once more.
The Rio stadium was officially opened in June 2013 with a friendly against England and was also used in the Confederations Cup. The venue, which will host seven World Cup games, will be used for the Rio de Janeiro state championship in the coming weeks.
FIFA are said to be impressed with the showpiece stadium.
Estadio Nacional Mane Garrincha, Brasilia (Complete)
The Estadio Nacional Mane Garrincha in Brasilia, named for the legendary Selecao winger of the 1950s and 1960s, is the second-largest stadium in the country (behind the Maracana) with a capacity of 72,000.
It has been completely rebuilt at a cost of $508 million, which makes it the most expensive World Cup venue. The home of Brasilia opened in May and has been used for several major matches, including Brazil's Confederations Cup opener against Japan.
However, the owners will be pawing through their builder's warranty, as the stadium roof leaks. During a women's match in December, several outlets reported the fact that some of the lower stands were flooded.
Estadio Castelao, Fortaleza (Complete)
The Castelão in Fortaleza, home of Brasileiro Série B side Ceara and Serie C's Fortaleza, originally opened in 1973. It was renovated in 2002 and completely redesigned for this World Cup to include a roof that covers all the seats and a higher capacity.
The stadium was opened by President Dilma Rousseff in December 2012 and was used for three games in the 2013 Confederations Cup.
Estadio Mineirao, Belo Horizonte (Complete)
The Estadio Mineirao in Belo Horizonte will host six World Cup matches, including England's clash with Costa Rica and a semi-final.
First opened in 1965, the 62,170-capacity venue was most recently renovated in December 2012, and was used in three Confederations Cups games.
This week, FIFA inspectors said they believed the stadium is "well prepared" for the tournament, but they are concerned with transport issues.
Arena Fonte Nova, Salvador (Complete)
The Arena Fonte Nova in beautiful Salvador was built on the site of the old Estádio Fonte Nova, which was demolished in 2010. According to the BBC, the new 55,000-seater stadium cost around $345 million.
The stadium hosted three Confederations Cup matches last summer, but ran into trouble in May when the roof partially collapsed under heavy rainfall.
The venue received its final FIFA inspection on Monday, where the main concern highlight was transport. The airport is thought to be of concern, with fans coming and going from six World Cup matches.
Arena Pernambuco, Recife (Complete)
The brand-new ultra-modern Arena Pernambuco in Recife is a "green arena," with its own solar plant, natural ventilation and the ability to collect and reuse rain water.
The stadium, used by Nautico, was completed in time to host three Confederations Cup matches and will be used for four matches at the World Cup.
The stadium was supposed to light up in different colours like the Allianz Arena, but recent reports suggest this promised feature will no longer be incorporated in the design.
Arena Das Dunas, Natal (Complete)
Architect Christopher Lee described the Arena Das Dunas in Natal as "the most perfect stadium in South America." The modern stadium has 32,000 seats, but flexible bleachers will expand the capacity to 42,000 for four group games.
Construction started in 2011, shortly after the Machadão stadium that once stood in its place was demolished.
President Dilma Rousseff officially opened the venue on Wednesday, praising its beauty.