Official: Problems ignored at World Cup stadium

Published on NewsOK Modified: April 3, 2014 at 6:08 pm •  Published: April 3, 2014

SAO PAULO (AP) — Safety problems at the stadium hosting the World Cup opener in Brazil were being ignored so work could finish in time for the tournament, a top labor official said in an interview published on Thursday.

One of the main labor ministry officials in Sao Paulo told the Folha de S. Paulo newspaper that inspectors were "looking the other way" so the already-delayed stadium would be completed before the June 12 opener.

Also on Thursday, Sao Paulo state prosecutors released a statement pointing to irregularities at the Itaquerao stadium, saying it could close the venue "even during the World Cup" if problems weren't fixed.

Labor officials halted the installation of 20,000 temporary seats on Monday, saying new safety measures had to be added following the death of a 23-year-old worker on Saturday.

Inspectors were at the venue on Thursday but there was no decision on when the work can resume. Organizers expect the interruption to end next week, which would not significantly affect the stadium's completion in time for the first match between Brazil and Croatia. FIFA still expects the venue ready in mid-May.

Fast Engenharia, the company in charge of the temporary seats, said it gave officials everything they requested to show the work site was safe. Labor inspectors were expected back at the venue on Friday.

"We will only allow the work to resume when we are sure that lives are not at risk and workers are safe," said Luiz Antonio Medeiros, the labor ministry's superintendent in Sao Paulo.

It was Medeiros who earlier told Folha that the importance of the stadium made inspectors ignore some of the irregularities.