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Manaus World Cup stadium still isn’t finished, and the field is in poor shape, too

(Colin Droniou/AFP/Getty Images)

Amazonia Arena in Manaus has become something of a symbol of Brazil’s mismanagement of the World Cup, which begins Thursday in Sao Paulo. The stadium has been wracked by delays and accidents (a construction worker fell off the roof and died last year), and many in Brazil are questioning the need to spend $300 million to construct a stadium that will not be used by a top-flight Brazilian professional team after the World Cup is finished.

Three days before England and Italy christen the stadium on Saturday, the stadium still isn’t finished. Not only that, but the field looks to be in terrible shape, the Guardian reports:

The playing surface is noticeably dry and sandy and particularly bare around one of the goals, with large yellowing areas of turf.

The rest of the stadium is not completely finished, with naked power cables dangling from the walls of the changing rooms and workers still applying a final coat of asphalt outside the ground. Several security doors are also waiting to be fitted at the stadium where a construction worker died last year after falling from the roof. …

However, the pitch has been undergoing emergency repair in recent months due to seriously undernourished grass following the excessive use of fertiliser on the new playing surface. It is considered difficult to maintain a good playing surface in Manaus because of the extreme weather conditions.

In December, Brazilian authorities said the field was “at match conditions,” but according to the Independent, the company that installed the field’s Bermuda grass “was called back to treat the pitch two months ago with bare patches around the goalmouth and a thin covering elsewhere. The grass was treated by chemical crystals but, given the apparent state of the pitch, it has not worked.”

The stadium will host four games at the World Cup: England-Italy on Saturday, Cameroon-Croatia on Wednesday, United States-Portugal on June 22 and Honduras-Switzerland on June 25.

The decision to host games in Manaus — a city of about 2 million located in the Amazon rainforest, far from Brazil’s other population centers — also has been questioned because of its inaccessibility and sweltering tropical climate. “Most travel sites explicitly warn against attempting to reach the city by road,” U.S. News & World Report says. Eduardo Paes, the mayor of Rio de Janeiro, said last week it was “a mistake” to spread the World Cup to so many Brazilian cities, 12 in all.


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