Photo from Zimbio.com
By RYAN TOLMICH
With the World Cup just a few weeks away, a FIFA mandated test of Brazil’s Arena Corinthians has been postponed due to a lack of sufficient preparation of both the stadium and its surrounding area.
It was announced Tuesday that the matchup between Brazilian clubs Corinthians and Cruzeiro had been moved to a 4:00 p.m. start time on May 29 in order to test the currently unfinished stadium at the time of its scheduled World Cup opener. However, according to Reuters, the proposed matchup has been postponed to June 1 and will take place between two different teams with Corinthians and Cruzeiro still expected to play on the initial May 29 date.
According to Brazilian news site Estadao, concerns over the stadium’s surrounding area and its ability to handle the anticipated crowd led to the postponement. Furthermore, concerns over the installation of temporary bleachers to accommodate the game worried organizers.
According to FIFA, the change of date was a request from locals, who felt the weekend would be better suited for such a game.
“The decision was taken to have the match on a Sunday rather than a weekday to reduce the impact on the city’s operational routine, after a request from local authorities,” FIFA said in an official statement.
The stadium held what was expected to be its final test event Sunday, but an evening start time and limited capacity influenced FIFA to mandate a final match under World Cup conditions. According to reports, the crowd consisted of just 36,000 fans for Sunday’s game, compared to the total stadium capacity of 68,000. FIFA is hoping the rescheduled match draws at least 50,000 fans.
“Given the attention drawn from the Opening Match of the FIFA World Cup, it is vital for the organizers that all facilities will be tested under full match conditions, including the use of temporary seats and associated facilities,” FIFA said. “These additional installations were not in place when the first test match took place on 19 May.”
If all goes according to plan, the newly announced June 1 match will give FIFA one last test of the stadium at its maximum capacity prior to the tournament’s opening match-up between Brazil and Croatia June 12, which is expected to draw a crowd of roughly 70,000.
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