By Robbie Blakeley, Senior Contributing Reporter
RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – Following a 2010 series detailing the World Cup host cities in Brazil, it is time again to review the progress leading up to the 2014 World Cup, with focus switching to Recife, the capital city of Northeastern state Pernambuco. Being built not just as a football stadium but an entire entertainment complex, the Arena Cidade da Copa is billed as “a place to live, to work, to learn and to have fun”.
The brand new arena, custom built for the World Cup, will include residential areas, parks, schools, playgrounds and the sports arena, the Arena Pernambuco. Construction firm Odebrecht claim the ground will be a “Smart Concept Stadium” which will offer more security, comfort and a wider variety of services.
The structure of the stadium will be adapted to be able to host a vast range of entertainment options beyond football. Live music shows, conventions and fairs and other sporting events should all be hosted in Recife’s brand new, state of the art arena.
A multipurpose stadium is a must for the area; while football (soccer) is popular in Recife, it doesn’t dominate the social calendar the way the sport does in South and Southeastern Brazil. Yet Recife will still have an important role to play come 2014.
In total, the Arena Pernambuco will host five matches during the tournament; four group stage matches, on June 14th, 20th, 23rd and 26th, as well as a second round knock-out tie on the 29th. The amount of football to be played in the city, coupled with the Confederations Cup next year, makes Recife one of the most important host cities for the World Cup.
Building costs for the Arena Pernambuco should run a shade over R$500 million and will come with a plethora of modern facilities. The stadium will hold a 46,154 capacity, with 1,600 box, or VIP seats.
The ground will also come with 1,800 business seats and 2,700 premium seats, 4,700 parking spaces and lounges for those in box, business or premium seats to enjoy a pre-match snifter before the action begins.
The stadium construction is financed by the Government of Pernambuco, with the work having been designed by architecture firm Daniel Fernandes. After completion it will become the new home of current Brasileirão outfit Náutico.
The Arena Pernambuco has been bookmarked as one of the stadium to host matches during the 2013 Confederations Cup next year, but unlike other progress reports in Cuiabá, Brasília, Belo Horizonte and Fortaleza reviewed recently, progress has not run so smoothly.
At the time of writing, the stadium is estimated at only 53 percent complete, despite building works beginning back in October 2010. Doubts are increasing over whether work will be finished by the scheduled opening date of January 6, 2013, and subsequently whether Recife will be ready for the Confederations Cup later that year.
The stadium is the least advanced amongst the six indicated to host matches (Belo Horizonte, Brasília, Fortaleza, Recife, Rio de Janeiro and Salvador) and could be cut from the list. In February, Obedrecht increased the number of men working on the site to 2,400, and that number was reported to be increased to 5,000 soon to make up time.