The $500M World Cup Stadium Still Doesn’t Have a Roof

Laborers work on temporary bleachers pictured at Arena de Sao Paulo stadium in Sao Paulo May 31, 2014. With just over a week to go before the World Cup kicks off, Brazil is racing to get its stadiums, airports, roads and even phone networks ready for hundreds of thousands of soccer fans.
Laborers work on temporary bleachers pictured at Arena de Sao Paulo stadium in Sao Paulo May 31, 2014. With just over a week to go before the World Cup kicks off, Brazil is racing to get its stadiums, airports, roads and even phone networks ready for hundreds of thousands of soccer fans. –REUTERS

If you’ve got tickets to the World Cup in Brazil, you may want to reconsider your plans because it does not sound like things are going well.

The obvious concern is that Brazilians are not happy with their country playing host to the world’s biggest sporting event. According to a recent Pew study, 72 percent of people are “dissatisfied with things in Brazil today’’ and the result has been protests that have been ongoing since June of last year. They’re protesting because the country has some pretty bad economic inequality even though the government apparently had a spare $11 billion to spend on new World Cup infrastructure. So that’s not encouraging.

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Of course, with so much money going into their hosting efforts, you might expect that the average fan’s experience would be immaculate. But that’s where the less obvious concern comes in, because that expectation is way wrong. Among a series of stadium and infrastructure construction efforts that still need to be completed, perhaps the most pressing is the lack of a complete roof over the country’s primary new stadium in Sao Paulo.

Sky Sports reported that at one end of the stadium, there is just scaffolding and no roof. Other areas of the stadium are also visibly unfinished. According to the L.A. Times, two sets of bleachers that have not been tested by the fire department, meaning the stadium will not be able to host a capacity crowd at a test match before the real tournament starts. The final test match at the stadium only allowed 40,000 people into a building that should hold 70,000. Meanwhile, other stadiums (like the one pictured above) also need to be completed.

And things did not get any better on Thursday, when the Associated Press reported that “subway and overland commuter train operators went on strike,’’ stranding morning commuters and leaving the city with a potentially serious problem for the influx of fans expected next week.

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So if you’re heading to Brazil for some world class soccer, prepare yourself. That trip is probably not going to be as enjoyable as you thought.

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