Stadium roof caves in after heavy rain

Stadium roof caves in after heavy rain

Heavy rains in the northeastern city of Salvador tore through the roof of a newly constructed venue for Confederations Cup soccer games starting next month, a warmup before Brazil hosts the World Cup next year.

The downpour ripped a large swath out of one of 36 panels of plastic stretched above the seating in the stadium, local authorities said. Televised images showed a large triangular tear in the covering that dwarfed workers gathered around the rim of the hole to inspect it.

Stadium administrators said maintenance workers had mistakenly bent part of the roof, causing excessive rainwater to accumulate.

Although officials say the roof will be repaired before Confederations Cup games begin on June 15, the damage underscores concerns about Brazil's preparedness to host the World Cup in 12 cities next year and the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro.

Other major venues have also suffered problems in recent weeks as Brazil, which has invested billions of dollars on construction of new facilities, races to meet deadlines set by organizers of the events.

Much of the area around Rio's Maracana stadium, which is one of the best-known soccer arenas and has been totally rebuilt for the forthcoming events, remains a construction site. Attendees at a re-inauguration of the stadium last month had to be bused in from a nearby facility.

Visitors at other stadiums have complained of unfinished bathrooms, leaky plumbing and other problems that critics blame on hasty preparations.

Engenhao, another big Rio stadium which was built from scratch before the 2007 Pan-American Games and is slated to host Olympic events, has been closed after inspectors discovered structural flaws in its roof.

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