Porto Alegre stadium gets test ahead of World Cup
With the World Cup fast approaching in Brazil, the so-new-it's-still-being-built Beira Rio stadium had a smooth test run Saturday, with Internacional as hosts.
Just 10,000 fans were let in (of a capacity 49,989) to the stadium in the southern city of Port Alegre for a match at which Inter outscored Caixas 4-0 in the local Gauchao playoffs.
Saturday's play in Rio Grande do Sul state came a day after firemen did a thorough inspection, according to the local side.
Booming Brazil is gearing up to host the World Cup amid fears its infrastructure for playing and hosting are not ready for prime time -- and amid public safety concerns.
Just Friday, Internacional's chairman warned that Porto Alegre could be removed from the list of June's World Cup venues owing to the cost of temporary facilities.
Giovanni Luigi said the club could not afford to pay the 30 million reias ($12.5 million) foreseen in the stadium contract with world football body FIFA and was in talks with local and Rio Grande do Sul state authorities on how the costs might be shared.
Under the terms of contracts signed in 2007 with FIFA and then revised in 2009, the stadium owners -- in this case the club -- are responsible for temporary structures such as the press centre and the hiring of volunteers as well as electricity generators and security scanners.
The warning came as FIFA secretary general Jerome Valcke prepared to visit Porto Alegre on Monday in his latest tour of event facilities.
Valcke has already warned that another of Brazil's 12 venues, Curitiba, faces being dropped from the World Cup, which starts in Sao Paulo on June 12, if it cannot show by Tuesday that the venue, whose construction has been lagging behind schedule, is back on track.
FIFA originally set a deadline of December 31 for all stadiums to be ready, but was forced to drop it with six venues still unfinished at that stage.
Sao Paulo's Arena Corinthians will not be ready for tests until mid-April after a fatal accident in late November saw two construction workers killed.
The Amazonia stadium in Manaus has suffered three fatal accidents and Brasilia one, as Brazil races against the clock to finish off stadium construction.
Porto Alegre's Beira Rio stadium, due to host five matches, had been expected to be the next to be delivered to organizers.
The government is keen to cut down spending as far as possible given widespread public discontent at the multi-billion cost of staging the event and the 2016 Rio Games.
FIFA has already indicated to AFP that such costs should be borne by the state as an integral part of adapting venues for a major event.
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