Football: World Cup stadium could be partially closed if unsafe

The Corinthians Arena - which is due to hold the opening match of the Brazil 2014 Fifa World Cup between Brazil and Croatia on June 12 - could be closed in places if it is not made safer for fans. -- PHOTO: AFP
The Corinthians Arena - which is due to hold the opening match of the Brazil 2014 Fifa World Cup between Brazil and Croatia on June 12 - could be closed in places if it is not made safer for fans. -- PHOTO: AFP

SAO PAULO (AFP) - The stadium that will host the opening match of the World Cup on June 12 could be closed in places if it is not made safer for fans, the Sao Paulo state prosecutor's office warned on Wednesday.

It comes after a fatal accident at the weekend which saw a construction worker fall to his death at the Corinthians Arena and following a firefighters' inspection which identified 26 safety irregularities. Construction work has been suspended.

Authorities have urged owners Corinthians club and constructor Odebrecht to ensure improvements regarding fire safety and exits.

"In case of non-compliance or partial compliance with these demands (the prosecutor) does not rule out adopting of measures aiming at a partial stadium ban, even during the World Cup," the prosecutor's office said in a statement.

Firefighting officer Sydney Turato told the G1 news portal that the stadium "is not safe" and some installations "do not meet state legislation". In Saturday's accident, a workman fell 8m as he helped install temporary seating. Four months ago a crane fell on the stands, crushing two site workers to death.

In total, seven stadium workers have been killed in Brazil - three more at Manaus and one in the capital Brasilia.

The Sao Paulo accidents have left the venue racing to be ready in time.

It is now expected to be delivered, unfinished, until the middle of this month, less than two months before Brazil take on Croatia in the tournament curtain-raiser.

Corinthians and Odebrecht issued a statement indicating they had already carried out studies which they had presented to the city authorities for signing off.

According to Odebrecht, the documents originally drawn up and sent to firefighters onsite will now be modified this week to take into account the latest demands for improvements.

World football's governing body Fifa insisted on Tuesday that the temporary suspension of work on the part of the stadium where Saturday's accident occurred would not cause a significant delay.