Sao Paulo’s World Cup stadium comes under fire
29 May 2012
Question marks have been raised over the development of Sao Paulo’s new stadium for the 2014 FIFA World Cup after prosecutors requested that a judge suspend financial incentives for its construction.
The Associated Press reports that prosecutors claim the incentives were illegally granted by the City of Sao Paulo to the Brazilian club Corinthians and Odebrecht, the construction company in charge of delivering the 65,000-seat facility. The prosecutors’ office is also seeking fines of about US$855 million to be levied against the three parties, with Sao Paulo state prosecutor Marcelo Camargo Milani stating that the city “flagrantly violated constitutional principles such as morality and legality,” transferring “public capital to private entities.”
The action could lead to a delay in construction of the stadium, which may place its key role at the World Cup in jeopardy. The $400 million venue is slated to host five games at the tournament, including blue-chip encounters in the form of the opening game and one semi-final. The Brazilian Development Bank is assisting the funding effort through $195 million of loans – a move that has been criticised as Brazil pledged to use only private money when it landed the tournament in 2007.
The stadium’s development has been far from smooth and construction only began around a year ago following a number of delays. A redeveloped Estádio do Morumbi, home of Corinthians’ city rival Sao Paulo, was originally slated to host World Cup games only for that plan to be shelved due to a lack of financial guarantees. Corinthians then proposed the development of a 48,000-seat stadium which would not have had the required capacity to host major World Cup games. A financial agreement between local tournament organisers, the government and the club was eventually sealed to build a 65,000-seat stadium.