World CupSaturday, May 10, 2014
Electrical work halted at stadium
After the electric accident that killed the eighth worker since World Cup preparations started, the electrical work at the Cuiabá stadium was halted.
BRASILIA — Electrical work at a World Cup stadium under construction in the Brazilian city of Cuiabá was halted until safety precautions were taken, following an electrical accident that killed a worker, labour authorities said yesterday.
The labour prosecutor’s office in Mato Grosso state said that Etel Engenharia, the electrical contractor, must assure safety conditions for workers before it can resume work at Arena Pantanal.
Muhammad-Ali Maciel Afonso, 32, who worked for the contractor, died after an electrical accident on Thursday at Arena Pantanal. Afonso was the eighth worker to die during construction of twelve arenas that will host games for the month-long soccer competition.
Builders were scrambling to finish several stadiums on time before the tournament starts on June 12.
Arena Pantanal, in the heart of Brazil’s farm belt, is one of three delayed World Cup stadiums still being built.
The unfinished stadium held a test match last month, but workers are still adding seats, wiring and other final touches. An October fire caused structural damage at the stadium that has since been repaired.
The 2014 World Cup, the first to be held in Brazil since 1950, has been beset by delays, cost overruns and broken promises. In addition to the late delivery of stadiums, several key public transportation projects have been scaled back or abandoned altogether.
After years of missed due dates in preparation, the World Cup opens on June 12 in Sao Paulo with some of the 12 stadiums largely untested.
“I would not say it’s not ready, but it’s not finished,” FIFA secretary general Jerome Valcke said of the World Cup project at a briefing.
The Itaquerão Stadium in Sao Paulo, which will host the Brazil-Croatia opener, has been seen as the symbol of the host nation’s much-criticized efforts amid protests that authorities are too focused on soccer and not the needs of the people.
The venue is late, expensive and within sight of an occupation of private land by thousands of protesters who claim they have been made homeless by rising rents in the neighbourhood.
With 14,000 guests, including invited heads of state, in the 65,000-strong crowd for the opening match, the scrutiny on Sao Paulo will be intense and likely unforgiving.
“This is why we need to have a level of operation which is perfect,” Valcke said.