Brazil holds final stadium tests for World Cup

Published on NewsOK Modified: May 18, 2014 at 9:00 pm •  Published: May 18, 2014
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SAO PAULO (AP) — Brazilian organizers admit there are problems but say they are mostly satisfied with the results of the final two stadium tests for the World Cup on Sunday, including at the troubled venue that will host the tournament opener in a few weeks.

Brazilian league matches were played to inaugurate the Itaquerao stadium in Sao Paulo and the Arena Pantanal in the western city of Cuiaba.

Organizers said there were problems at both venues, including a leaking roof at the Itaquerao and a pitch invasion at the Arena Pantanal. But no major setbacks were reported, and getting through the test events was important to help alleviate at least some of the concerns about the country's readiness for football's showcase event.

"We are very satisfied," local World Cup organizing committee CEO Ricardo Trade said after the match in Sao Paulo. "There are wonderful things, but there are some adjustments to make, there are still some things to finish. It was fundamental that we staged this event."

The Itaquerao and the Arena Pantanal were among the most delayed stadiums ahead of the June 12 opener, along with the Arena da Baixada in the southern city of Curitiba. The final test at the Arena da Baixada was held last week.

Now all 12 World Cup stadiums have held test events. None of the test matches were held at full capacity, however, as there is still a lot of work left to be done at the venues, including the installation of seats.

Some of the problems at the Itaquerao were related to its unfinished roof. It rained heavily late in the first half and there was hail falling at halftime, forcing some of the fans to scramble for cover because not all seats were protected.

The construction company in charge of the venue confirmed to The Associated Press on Friday that glass covers that had to be installed in part of the roof will not be ready until after the World Cup, so the same problem could happen during the tournament next month.

Local organizers said it was never a requirement to have all seats covered at World Cup stadiums, but if the glass covers were already in place, a lot more people would have been protected from the rain.

Organizers also admitted that there were connection problems for fans trying to use their cellphones inside the Itaquerao. More of the same is expected during the World Cup as the government has already warned that communications in some of the venues, including in Sao Paulo, will be less than perfect during the tournament.

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