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World Cup Run-up Claims 8th Worker

Thursday, May 29, 2014

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As the world awaits the first kick of the 2014 World Cup in 15 days, Brazil’s preparations for the event have now claimed an eighth life.

The latest victim of World Cup construction was Muhammad Ali Maciel Afonso, a 32-year-old who perished in an electrical incident at one of the most delayed venues.

Images: World Cup Portal / Government of Brazil

Muhammad Ali Maciel Afonso, 32, was electrocuted May 8 while working at the World Cup's Arena Pantanal in Cuiaba.

According to reports, Afonso was electrocuted May 8 at the site of the Arena Pantanal in Cuiaba and died a half-hour later of cardiorespiratory arrest. He was working around the stadium’s skybox and was equipped with safety equipment, the Associated Press noted.

Paramedics at the scene were unable to revive the victim, reports said.

The official cause of the accident was unknown. His employer, Etel Engineering, and the police are investigating.

The arena in Cuiaba still requires exterior work and transport links before the tournament begins, according to reports.

Deadly Work

Seven other workers have died in the rush to complete the stadiums in time for the soccer tournament, scheduled to begin June 12.

Three of the deaths occurred at the Itaquerao stadium in São Paulo—the site of the first match and opening ceremony.

Most recently, a 23-year-old worker died March 29 after falling 26 feet while installing temporary seating. In November 2013, a crane hoisting a 420-ton metal roofing module fell onto that stadium, killing two others.


Construction on the Itaquerao stadium in São Paulo began in 2011. Installation of the 38 roofing modules, weighing 420 tons each, was the biggest construction challenge, according to officials.

Three other workers were killed at the Arena da Amazonia in Manaus, Amazonas, including a 22-year-old who fell 115 feet in December when a cable broke as he prepared for a night shift on the roof.

In 2012, a worker perished at the stadium constructed in the nation’s capital, Brasilia.

Inspections, Test Events

FIFA officials took over the reins for the tournament last week, making a final inspection tour of the 12 venues before the event begins, reports related.

Many of the stadiums were supposed to have been finished in December; others, even earlier. However, numerous construction delays, worker strikes and fatalities have plagued preparations.

Arena da Amazonia in Manaus

FIFA officials are completing a final inspection tour of each of the World Cup venues, including the Arena da Amazonia in Manaus.

Reports say some of the stadiums remain unfinished and FIFA officials have modified rules to allow for fewer test events at the sites due to the time crunch.

For example, the Itaquero stadium, which reportedly should have been completed a year ago, remains incomplete and has held only one trial event.

Normally, FIFA requires three test events for the opening ceremony venue; however, there is only time for one more trial to ensure the arena is capable of holding a crowd of nearly 70,000 for the opening ceremony and match, reports said.

Stadiums in Curitiba and Cuiaba have held one test event each, but exterior work and transport links are incomplete, reports said.

Further, a light railway designed to transport fans to and from stadium venues is not scheduled to open until next year.

Meanwhile concerns have erupted over how much Brazil has spent to host the tournament. The country's $11 billion tab is about triple the cost of the South Africa World Cup in 2010, according to reports.


Tagged categories: Accidents; Construction; Fatalities; Health and safety; Stadiums/Sports Facilities

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