Brazil's Most Expensive New Stadium Faces Its First Test
Mane Garrincha National Stadium in Brasilia has begun its second life. With workers hurrying to finish the stadium in time for next month's FIFA Confederations Cup, Brazil's capital city's major stadium had its official inauguration last weekend.
The original Garrincha Stadium was built in 1974, and was considered outdated and incapable of serving the country's upcoming international sporting events long before being torn down in 2010. It is being rebuilt for $750 million, not only the most expensive stadium of the 12 being erected in advance of the 2014 World Cup, but the most expensive such project in the country's history.
Plagued by delays and cost overruns, local officials say the stadium, which is designed to hold more than 70,000 fans, is 97 percent done. Only about 20,000 people were allowed to attend Saturday's inauguration event. The event itself didn't go as smoothly as hoped; the Associated Press reported complaints from those in attendance about restroom doors without locks, visible water leaks and poor cell phone reception. The price tag has upset a lot of Brazilians too, amid worries it will struggle to find consistent use after 2014 since Brasilia doesn't have a team in the country's top soccer leagues.
This coming weekend will be a much greater test, as a capacity crowd is expected for a soccer match scheduled at the stadium on Sunday. That should give officials a better idea of what to prepare for when Brazil's national team faces Japan on June 15 for the Confederations Cup opener.
Below, photos of the original Garrincha stadium being demolished and the pricey replacement that now sits on the same site today:
July 27, 2010. Photo taken during the ceremony to launch the renovation and expansion of the National Stadium. Image courtesy Wikimedia Commons, Marcello Casal Jr./ABr
July 27, 2010. Brasília - Federal District governor, Roger Rosso, participates in the ceremony for the renovation and expansion of the Mane Garrincha National Stadium in Brasilia. Image courtesy Wikimedia Commons, Marcello Casal Jr./ABr
Socks hang in front of the National Mane Garrincha Stadium in Brasilia May 18, 2013. REUTERS/Ueslei Marcelino
Brazilian army soldiers wearing chemical suits participate in an anti-terror simulation exercise as part of the preparation for the upcoming 2013 FIFA Confederations Cup in Brasilia. May 22, 2013. About 100 soldiers took part in the exercise which include preventive strikes against chemical, biological and radiological weapons conducted around Mane Garrincha National Stadium, according to an official statement.
A hot air balloon flies near National Mane Garrincha Stadium during the National Festival of Ballooning in Brasilia April 20, 2013. The festival is part of Brasilia's 53rd anniversary celebrations. REUTERS/Ueslei Marcelino
A laborer works at the National Mane Garrincha Stadium in Brasilia April, 28, 2013. REUTERS/Ueslei Marcelino
Workers lay grass at the National Mane Garrincha Stadium in Brasilia April, 28, 2013. REUTERS/Ueslei Marcelino
Workers inspect the seats of the National Mane Garrincha Stadium before its inauguration in Brasilia, May 18, 2013. REUTERS/Ueslei Marcelino
Brazil's President Dilma Rousseff participates in the inauguration of the National Stadium Mane Garrincha in Brasilia, May 18, 2013. At right is Brasilia's Governor Agnelo Queiroz.
Laborers stand at the National Mane Garrincha stadium in Brasilia May 10, 2013.
A general view of the National Mane Garrincha Stadium during its inauguration in Brasilia May 18, 2013. REUTERS/Ueslei Marcelino
A general view of the National Mane Garrincha Stadium, seen under construction in Brasilia April, 28, 2013. The building of the National Congress of Brazil is seen in the background (top L). REUTERS/Ueslei Marcelino