April 16, 2014 (ISN) – The stadium which will host the opening match of this summer’s FIFA World Cup has been handed to its owners Corinthians, amid warnings there is “still a way to go” before it is ready.
Arena Corinthians in São Paulo, which is due to host six World cup games including a semi-final, was supposed to be completed by December.
But it is one of a host of stadiums in Brazil which has been struggling to complete work.
The handing over of the stadium has been described as more of a “symbolic act” by Corinthians president Mario Gobbi, who added there is “still a way to go and we need to work together”.
Three workers have died at the stadium during construction.
Last month, Fabio Hamilton da Cruz died after falling 25 feet while installing temporary stands.
In November, two workers died when a crane collapsed.
The stadium’s permanent capacity will be 48,000, but 20,000 temporary seats are being installed for the World Cup – the first to be staged in Brazil since 1950.
These stands are still under construction and other work inside the stadium, including finishing the VIP areas and other temporary installations, is ongoing.
The area around the stadium – including the completing of access roads – is also a cause for concern as the first World Cup game on June 12, which sees Brazil face Croatia, fast approaches.
The city’s vice mayor promised those areas would be finished by the end of May, according to Reuters.
It also reports there may be time for just one competitive match at the stadium before the World Cup opens, though smaller-scale games are likely to be held to test the facility.
The stadium will cost almost one billion reals (£266,000/$447,000/€323,000) – 14 to 18 per cent over budget.
Three other group game matches – Netherlands versus Chile, Uruguay versus England and South Korea versus Belgium – are also due to be held at Arena Corinthians, as well as a round of 16 clash on July 1 and a semi-final match on July 9.