World Cup sta­dium holds first match af­ter Oc­to­ber fire

Daily Trust - - SPORT -

Brazil’s un­fin­ished Arena Pan­tanal sta­dium in Cuiaba has held its first match since an Oc­to­ber blaze raised fears it would not be ready in time to host World Cup games this sum­mer.

The fire in late Oc­to­ber caused more dam­age than was ini­tially thought and prompted prose­cu­tors to open a safety in­ves­ti­ga­tion at the arena, one of 12 Brazil­ian sta­di­ums that will host the World Cup be­tween June 12 and July 13.

State and federal prose­cu­tors have since said they were sat­is­fied with the sta­dium’s safety.

The match be­tween Mixto and San­tos in the Brazil­ian Cup on Wed­nes­day was open to only 20,000 fans, about half of the sta­dium’s planned ca­pac­ity.

Lo­cal me­dia said some 23,000 seats still needed to be in­stalled be­fore the sta­dium’s of­fi­cial open­ing game on April 26.

Con­struc­tion of sev­eral of the World Cup sta­di­ums have been marred by re­peated de­lays, fa­tal ac­ci­dents and cost over­runs.

On Mon­day, au­thor­i­ties halted work on tem­po­rary stands at the Corinthi­ans sta­dium in Sao Paulo - where the open­ing match of the World Cup will be played - fol­low­ing the fa­tal fall of a worker on Satur­day.

The Arena Pan­tanal, lo­cated in Cuiaba at the heart of Brazil’s grain belt, was orig­i­nally ex­pected to have been ready in De­cem­ber of 2012. The con­struc­tion started four years ago and has so far cost 570 mil­lion reais ($251.34 mil­lion).

Tele­vi­sion im­ages be­fore the match showed the streets around the sta­dium flooded af­ter heavy rains in Cuiaba.

The World Cup matches sched­uled fo’ Cuiaba are June 13, be­tween Chile and Aus­tralia; June 17, be­tween Rus­sia and South Korea; June 21, be­tween Nigeria and Bos­nia, and June 24, be­tween Ja­pan and Colom­bia.

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