By Ben Tavener, Senior Contributing Reporter
RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – Rio’s world-famous Maracanã Stadium is entering the final stages of its long-awaited reconstruction, with some parts already verging on completion, and should be ready by February 2013, according to Globo News. Engineers say work is continuing to progress on schedule and according to plan, and that the roof section must now be completed before Maracanã can open its doors to the public.
The stadium is key to the city’s hosting of Brazil’s top football (soccer) fixtures, as well as the 2014 World Cup which starts in under two years’ time.
It is also a central venue for the 2016 Olympics and Paralympics, accommodating the football finals and the opening and closing ceremonies of both Games.
According to sources, one of the most notable differences is that the crowd will be considerably nearer to the action on the pitch, with just 14.4 meters (under sixteen yards) separating fans from players.
Engineers are said to have planned the stadium in such a way that gives much better access for floats and other parade paraphernalia to enter the stadium.
They also planned strategically before construction work began meaning that alterations will not be necessary for the stadium’s hosting of the Olympics.
But the new 85,000-capacitor stadium has come at a price, both financially – coming in well over budget – and politically after it was embroiled in a scandal involving the Delta Construção construction company, which pulled out of a consortium carrying out the renovation works.
Allegations brought into question the company’s involvement with the now-infamous businessman Carlos Ramos, better known as Carlinhos Cachoeira, who has been the subject of a drawn-out governmental inquiry threatening to bring a string of high-profile politicians and businesspeople into disrepute.
Read more (in Portuguese).
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