Contractor seeks to resume work at World Cup site
SAO PAULO (AP) — The contractor at the World Cup stadium where a worker fell 115 feet (35 meters) to his death is trying to reverse a labor court ruling that halted work on part of the venue.
Construction company Andrade Gutierrez said Monday it is trying to show officials that all safety measures are in place for workers installing the roof structures at the Arena Amazonia in the jungle city of Manaus, where England will play Italy and the United States will face Portugal in next year’s World Cup.
After Saturday’s death, public prosecutors requested the immediate interruption of work in all areas where laborers need to be high above the ground. The labor court said contractors must present a detailed report showing the site is safe.
It was the second death at the Arena Amazonia in less than a year, and the fifth at a World Cup venue the past two years. Two workers were killed when a crane collapsed Nov. 27 as it was hoisting a 500-ton piece of roofing at the Sao Paulo stadium that will host the World Cup opener. Last year, a worker died at the construction site of the stadium in the nation’s capital, Brasilia. The other death in Manaus happened in March.
Local World Cup organizers denied that some of the 2,000 workers walked off the Manaus construction site Monday and said work went on as usual where allowed by authorities. They said the Arena Amazonia was 93 percent completed by last week.
“There was no work stoppage,” said Miguel Capobiango Neto, the local World Cup coordinator. “All workers went through a revision of security procedures and returned to their assignments.”
A local union had planned a strike to complain of inadequate conditions at the stadium, which is among the six World Cup arenas that will not be completed by the end of the year as wanted by the international soccer body FIFA because of construction delays.
Another is the Sao Paulo venue, where the giant white latticed roof arch still sits where it fell last month, resting bent and crumpled on top of a wall it partly wrecked at one end of the stadium.
Andres Sanchez, the Corinthians soccer club ex-president in charge of the team’s stadium project in Sao Paulo, said Monday that construction will be finished April 15, with test events likely taking place later that month. Most of the stadium, with the exception of the corner where the crane collapsed, will be ready before that, he said.
If not for the accident, the stadium would have been ready for test games in February. Investigations continue to determine the reasons why the German crane collapsed, he said.
Manaus officials wanted to hold the first test event at the stadium Jan. 15, with around 10,000 workers who participated in the venue’s construction serving as spectators. Organizers said it’s too early to say how much the construction stoppage this week will affect the stadium’s delivery.
AP Sports Writer John Leicester in Sao Paulo contributed to this report.