Sao Paulo arena to be used in World Cup despite deaths

Civil defence and policemen inspect the damage of an accident at the Arena Corinthians, known locally as the Itaquerao, that will host the 2014 World Cup in Sao Paulo, Brazil, on Nov 28, 2013. The Sao Paulo stadium will not be removed from the World
Civil defence and policemen inspect the damage of an accident at the Arena Corinthians, known locally as the Itaquerao, that will host the 2014 World Cup in Sao Paulo, Brazil, on Nov 28, 2013. The Sao Paulo stadium will not be removed from the World Cup roster despite an accident that claimed two lives and will delay its completion, a Brazilian official said on Nov 28, 2013. -- FILE PHOTO: AP

SAO PAULO (AFP) - A Sao Paulo stadium will not be removed from the World Cup roster despite an accident that claimed two lives and will delay its completion, a Brazilian official said on Thursday.

"We are going to meet to assess the consequences of this accident, but the stadium will not be excluded," the daily Estado de Sao Paulo quoted Ricardo Trade, head of the Cup's Local Organising Committee, as saying.

Two workers were killed on Wednesday when a crane collapsed at Arena Corinthians which is due to host the World Cup opener next June.

The stadium, one of 12 Brazilian host venues for the football extravaganza, will also host five other games, including a semi-final.

The accident came amid a scramble to meet a firm December 31 deadline set by football's governing body FIFA to complete the dozen arenas.

Work at the Arena Corinthians site has been suspended for three days of mourning until next Monday, after which 30 per cent of the site will be closed to assist the investigation.

"It is impossible to make any prediction at this time as to whether the accident will cause a delay. In any case, we cannot imagine that if there is a three-month delay, the stadium will be excluded from the World Cup," Mr Trade said.

Brazilian press reports, citing anonymous sources, said the accident could result in a delay of one to two months in construction of the arena, which is 94 per cent complete.

On Thursday police and Civil Defence officials inspected the site where two workers,aged 44 and 42, were crushed to death when a crane hoisting a 500-ton metallic segment to the top of the roof collapsed.

Officials from the labour ministry and construction labour unions were also on site on Thursday, following the accident.

The unions are pushing for a 30-day suspension of work pending completion of the investigation.

Sao Paulo prosecutors meanwhile served notice that the work will be completely suspended "if technical elements point to a need to do so".