World Cup 2014: Fears grow over Sao Paulo stadium being ready in time for opening match of the tournament

 

sports news correspondent

The readiness of the Sao Paulo stadium to host the opening match of the World Cup has been called into further doubt after Fifa announced it was delaying the final test event. It will now not take place until a week on Sunday – just 11 days before Brazil are scheduled to begin the tournament against Croatia.

The Arena de Sao Paulo has long been behind its construction schedule. Its first test event took place on Monday with a club match between Corinthians and Figueirense in front of a 40,000 crowd. None of the 28,000 temporary seats were used and Fifa is insisting another match must be staged using them – a crowd of 50,000-plus is required to test the stadium and its facilities fully ahead of the World Cup.

Fifa had hoped to hold the game on 28 May but that has now been pushed back to 1 June amid concerns over whether the local transport system would be able to cope with the extra demand of supporters heading for the ground on a weekday. Today Sao Paulo was brought to a virtual standstill by a second day of strikes by local bus drivers. Brazil play Croatia on a Thursday evening.

Jérôme Valcke, Fifa's chief executive, who is already in Brazil, tweeted: "The second test event ahead of the opening World Cup match will be staged at Arena de Sao Paulo on 1 June. CBF to reallocate League match. It is vital for us that all facilities will be tested under full match conditions in the temporary seats and associated facilities."

A number of the temporary seats had not been properly installed for the first test match. Valcke tweeted on Monday that if the stadium is to be ready it "still needs 100% from everybody to guarantee necessary structures are in place for the opener".

The CBF, Brazil's governing body, has rescheduled a league match between Corinthians and Cruzeiro to act as the extra fixture. Should the game reveal any further problems, it leaves little time to correct them.

The organisers have already abandoned the original plans to put a roof on the temporary seats in a project that has been beset by difficulties, with three workers killed during its construction.

There has been widespread concern among Fifa officials about Brazil's preparedness to host the tournament. Valcke said recently that there was not a "minute to waste". Upgrades to airports will not be ready, although the Brazilian government insists the transport infrastructure will cope. The bus strike in Sao Paulo will only add to the organisers' long worry list, on which the prospect of widespread protests occupies a prominent position.

Fifa was also forced to defend kick-off times for the tournament in response to a lawsuit filed by the Brazilian players' union. The union claims that 1pm local kick-off times will be a danger to players' health because of the heat and humidity. Fifa denies that.

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

Sun, sex and an anthropological study: One British academic's summer of hell in Magaluf

Sun, sex and an anthropological study

One academic’s summer of hell in Magaluf
From Shakespeare to Rising Damp... to Vicious

Frances de la Tour's 50-year triumph

'Rising Damp' brought De la Tour such recognition that she could be forgiven if she'd never been able to move on. But at 70, she continues to flourish - and to beguile
'That Whitsun, I was late getting away...'

Ian McMillan on the Whitsun Weddings

This weekend is Whitsun, and while the festival may no longer resonate, Larkin's best-loved poem, lives on - along with the train journey at the heart of it
Kathryn Williams explores the works and influences of Sylvia Plath in a new light

Songs from the bell jar

Kathryn Williams explores the works and influences of Sylvia Plath
How one man's day in high heels showed him that Cannes must change its 'no flats' policy

One man's day in high heels

...showed him that Cannes must change its 'flats' policy
Is a quiet crusade to reform executive pay bearing fruit?

Is a quiet crusade to reform executive pay bearing fruit?

Dominic Rossi of Fidelity says his pressure on business to control rewards is working. But why aren’t other fund managers helping?
The King David Hotel gives precious work to Palestinians - unless peace talks are on

King David Hotel: Palestinians not included

The King David is special to Jerusalem. Nick Kochan checked in and discovered it has some special arrangements, too
More people moving from Australia to New Zealand than in the other direction for first time in 24 years

End of the Aussie brain drain

More people moving from Australia to New Zealand than in the other direction for first time in 24 years
Meditation is touted as a cure for mental instability but can it actually be bad for you?

Can meditation be bad for you?

Researching a mass murder, Dr Miguel Farias discovered that, far from bringing inner peace, meditation can leave devotees in pieces
Eurovision 2015: Australians will be cheering on their first-ever entrant this Saturday

Australia's first-ever Eurovision entrant

Australia, a nation of kitsch-worshippers, has always loved the Eurovision Song Contest. Maggie Alderson says it'll fit in fine
Letterman's final Late Show: Laughter, but no tears, as David takes his bow after 33 years

Laughter, but no tears, as Letterman takes his bow after 33 years

Veteran talkshow host steps down to plaudits from four presidents
Ivor Novello Awards 2015: Hozier wins with anti-Catholic song 'Take Me To Church' as John Whittingdale leads praise for Black Sabbath

Hozier's 'blasphemous' song takes Novello award

Singer joins Ed Sheeran and Clean Bandit in celebration of the best in British and Irish music
Tequila gold rush: The spirit has gone from a cheap shot to a multi-billion pound product

Join the tequila gold rush

The spirit has gone from a cheap shot to a multi-billion pound product
12 best statement wallpapers

12 best statement wallpapers

Make an impact and transform a room with a conversation-starting pattern
Paul Scholes column: Does David De Gea really want to leave Manchester United to fight it out for the No 1 spot at Real Madrid?

Paul Scholes column

Does David De Gea really want to leave Manchester United to fight it out for the No 1 spot at Real Madrid?