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World Cup 2014: Sao Paulo Stadium still doesn't meet British safety standards less than 72 hours before hosting Brazil v Croatia

The stadium has not been tested at anywhere near full capacity while electricians and carpenters are still frantically working to get the venue ready in time

The Sao Paulo stadium which will host the opening game of the World Cup in 72 hours does not meet British safety standards, because World Cup organisers have not tested it at anywhere near full capacity.

British stadium specialists last night said that the safety of any new stadium “at or around 100%” would be mandatory for it to be granted a license, to ensure that fans can be properly evacuated.

The test event for the stadium, where electricians and carpenters were still frantically trying to complete work last night, took place without any spectators on Sunday when Corinthians under-17s played Corinthians under-20s in an empty stadium. The absence of fans flew in the face of Fifa’s own safety rules dictating that the risk assessment should include consideration of the expected attendance. Fifa Secretary General Jerome Valcke also said last month: It is vital that all facilities will be tested under full match conditions in the temporary sections and associated facilities.“


With Brazil due to kick off the World Cup against Croatia here on Thursday, areas clearly requiring urgent work last night included the media viewing area, where there was no barrier to prevent occupants falling and escalators where safety barriers were in place. There were also large quantities of chipboard piled up to be laid under carpet on uneven floors, which were a severe safety hazard. There were also walkways made from scaffolding laid outside of the stadium.

Watch Sam Wallace's latest World Cup video from Brazil below:

In the UK, the ‘Green Guide’ safety bible stipulates that an ”appropriate number“ of test events must be held, to view and assess the ground at 30%, 60% and near 100% capacity. Those events include a test of how rapidly full scale evacuation can take place, with the approved time being eight minutes. A capacity crowd is also required to test temporary seating.

A temporary stand has already been needed to push the Itaquerao Stadium's capacity over 65,000. That had to be closed off for an earlier test match between Corinthians and Botafogo, two weeks ago - because the fire department still had to perform weight stress tests on it. That meant only 40,000 tickets were made available for that match.