SAO PAULO (AP) — Brazilian organizers will test the stadium hosting the World Cup opener one more time after a request from FIFA.
The local soccer federation has agreed to change the Brazilian league schedule so another match can be played at the troubled stadium. Itaquerao remains unfinished three weeks before the World Cup begins in Sao Paulo.
The stadium held its first official match Sunday in what was supposed to be the final test event before the tournament. But soccer's governing body and the local World Cup organizing committee said Tuesday it was important to hold another match at the venue.
FIFA told The Associated Press in an email Tuesday it wants to "ensure the entire infrastructure is tested at full capacity."
Nearly 70,000 fans and guests are expected for the Brazil-Croatia opener, but less than 40,000 were at Itaquerao on Sunday because of safety concerns. The 20,000 temporary seats being installed for the opener were not ready to be used by then, but are expected to be available for the new test event scheduled for May 29.
Corinthians will host Brazilian champion Cruzeiro in a match that was originally scheduled to be played at a different Sao Paulo stadium on May 28. That match was to be played at night, but FIFA wants it to start in the afternoon, at the same time of the June 12 opener.
Local organizers said they were mostly pleased with the results of the first test event even though they acknowledged there were a few problems, including a leaking roof. Builders had already said the stadium's roof will not be fully finished until after the World Cup because there was not enough time to add the glass covers that would help protect fans from rain.
The delay happened in part because the glasses initially planned for the roof were turned down by the club for being green, the color of Corinthians' rival Palmeiras, according to former club president Andres Sanchez, the official in charge of the venue. Builders, however, said the glasses were not installed because "transparency studies" were not completed in time.
It's not clear whether Corinthians will be able to sell the nearly 70,000 tickets needed to pack the Itaquerao for the new test event next week. Fans were upset with the team's loss to then last-place Figueirense in the stadium opener and complained of the high prices of tickets.
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