SAO PAULO (AP) — One of six Brazilian World Cup stadiums that had to be completed before the end of 2013 was symbolically delivered on New Year's Eve, although it won't be fully ready until the end of the month.
Local World Cup organizers in the northeastern city of Natal turned on the lights at the Arena das Dunas stadium for the first time on Tuesday to symbolize the venue's completion. The official inauguration, however, will only happen "probably" on Jan. 20, organizers said in a statement Wednesday.
Brazil starts the year without six of the 12 World Cup stadiums ready even though FIFA had set the end of 2013 as the final deadline. Six venues had been built for the Confederations Cup this year.
Soccer's world governing body usually wants all venues ready at least six months before the tournament starts so local organizers can host enough test events.
Brazilian organizers announced during the World Cup draw in December that none of the remaining six venues was expected to be delivered by the FIFA deadline. Delays have included financial problems, worker safety issues and construction-site accidents.