FIFA held two successful test events in Sao Paulo this weekend
The official test events included the Itaquero stadium, (staging the World Cup opener between Brazil and Crotia on 12th June) and Arena Pantanal in Brazil’s western city of Cuiaba – both were opened on Sunday by hosting Brazilian Serie A matches.
The Kempster team in Brazil attended and despite work still outstanding, they were impressed with the way in which the tests were conducted. The team felt Brazil had taken learnings from the FIFA Confederations Cup last year with clear signage, impressive stadiums and good accessibility to metros stations.
FIFA and the local World Cup organizing committee were closely monitoring the test matches, analysing everything from fan access to the stadiums through to the pitch condition and security. A few small problems were reported at both venues, including a leaking roof at the Itaquerao which forced some fans to scramble for cover and a pitch invasion at the Arena Pantanal. However, no major setbacks were found and getting through the test events was important to help alleviate at least some of the concerns about the country’s readiness for football’s showcase event.
At the Itaquerao, Figueirense upset hosts Corinthians 1-0 while Atletico Mineiro defeated Santos 2-1 at Arena Pantanal. The Itaquerao will stage six World Cup matches and Arena Pantanal four. Despite a 70,000 capacity, only 40,000 were allowed into the Itaquerao on Sunday due to unfinished construction work. However, the organising committee said Sao Paulo was on track to be ready for the World Cup and Kempster representatives also felt the stage was nearly set for the curtain opener.
Now all 12 World Cup stadiums have held test events and despite FIFA issuing a completion deadline of December, this weekend’s testing highlighted the largest concerns are related to infrastructure projects aimed at improving nearby roads. In the majority of World Cup stadiums, the installation of temporary structures to accommodate sponsors, media and technical teams are likely to continue until just days before the tournament begins but as we move ever close to the 12th June, the clock is ticking!