By Robbie Blakeley, Senior Contributing Reporter
RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – The Arena Fonte Nova, located in the northeastern city of Salvador, has been damaged by the incessant rain that struck the city last Sunday. One of the 36 roof panels on the eastern side of the stadium came loose and has been hanging from the top of the stadium after a storm since Monday.
Fortunately, no one was injured during the incident. Rainwater had accumulated on the panels that cover the stadium since Sunday night and the weight forced the damage.
“There is a canvas membrane on the roof which inadvertently caused an impediment to the water flow. It was human error,” said José Luis Góes, an engineer at the Fonte Nova stadium.
Heavy rains have taken a toll on other stadiums set to host international tournament games this year. At the beginning of March, torrential rains in Rio de Janeiro led to large-scale flooding in the legendary Maracanã stadium, effectively canceling an inspection visit from Jérôme Valcke, FIFA’s General Secretary, and raising concerns over the stadium’s ability to cope with heavy downpours.
The incident at Fonte Nova is a major hitch so close to the start of the Confederations Cup. After almost three years of renovations, the stadium reopened on April 5th, when it was inaugurated amidst great fanfare and visits from President Dilma Rousseff and Bahia State Governor, Jaques Wagner. It held its first game, a Bahia-Vitoria clássico, on April 7th.
The Fonte Nova is scheduled to host three matches during the Confederations Cup. Nigeria versus Uruguay on June 20th, Brazil versus Italy on June 22nd and the third placed play-off.
During the 2014 World Cup, six games will be held in Salvador.
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