2014 FIFA World Cup kick-off venue not ready for final test
Sao Paulo: The stadium hosting the opening match of the World Cup on June 12 will not be finished in time for its final test event, its owners said Friday.
Sao Paulo's Corinthians Arena had to schedule a last-minute test for Sunday, 11 days from the World Cup kick-off, after an earlier event revealed a host of problems and only filled the stadium to half capacity.
But Corinthians football club, the stadium's owners, said safety officials had only authorized them to sell 40,000 tickets for Sunday's match, still short of the 65,000 fans expected for the World Cup opener between Brazil and Croatia.
Firefighters still have concerns over two extra seating areas with a capacity of 10,000 people each.
Corinthians said one set of extra stands was "in the process of being finished" ahead of Sunday's match, a Brazilian league game between Corinthians and Botafogo.
The other has been finished but only authorized to open at half capacity, said Fast Engenharia, the company installing the structures.
FIFA secretary general Jerome Valcke, the football governing body's task-master for host country preparations, wrote in a dismayed tweet after visiting the stadium on May 21 that it is "vital for us that all facilities will be tested under full match conditions including the temporary seats."
That came after a first test event three days earlier in which 36,000 fans faced broken elevators, exterior lighting problems, patchy cell-phone connectivity and a drenching storm that forced some to move to higher seats because part of the glass-panelled roof was still unfinished.
Brazil officially handed the stadium over to FIFA on May 21, but it is still under construction.
The stadium has been plagued by delays, cost over-runs and construction accidents that killed three workers -- one of whom fell while working on one of the extra seating areas.