Sao Paulo says Corinthians Arena stadium will be ready for April
Sao Paulo's delayed Corinthians Arena stadium, due to host the opening match at the World Cup, will be delivered to organisers on April 15, albeit with final touches still required, an official said Tuesday.
"The site will be delivered on April 15 with only a few issues to finish off thereafter," a spokesperson for Andres Sanchez, former Corinthians chairman and site construction supervisor, told AFP.
"What FIFA has asked for will be finished," the spokesperson said, without giving details of what further tweaks would be needed at the 68,000-seat venue before it hosts Brazil's game with Croatia on June 12.
Last weekend, the ground, which will be home to six games in all, including one semi-final, hosted its first training session.
Earlier, Folha de Sao Paulo had reported the stadium would be delivered with an incomplete roof and without giant screens.
Corinthians have put the delays down to difficulties with securing $150 million in loans from state investment bank BNDES, as well as repairs needed after a November accident which cost the lives of two construction workers.
UEFA chairman and World Cup organizing committee member Michel Platini earlier indicated in Zurich that the stadium was the main remaining cause for concern.
"There are question marks over the number of seats. FIFA wants to know exactly how many there will be," Platini said.
"There are also complementary structures which nobody wants to pay for," Platini indicated, alluding to temporary installations. Constructor Odebrecht, Sao Paulo city hall and the regional government are seeking to thrash out an agreement on the issue.
But Platini noted Brazil was not the only host to race against the clock ahead of a World Cup.
"In Italy (ahead of the 1990 finals) you saw people applying the last touch of paint to stadiums just before the event started," he recalled.
Two other venues, Cuiaba and Curitiba, have yet to be fiished and Porto Alegre, although inaugurated, still has temporary installations to complete.
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