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May 27, 2013

Confed Cup stadium roof collapses

SAO PAULO -- A small part of the roof of a stadium set to host Confederations Cup matches next month collapsed, apparently because of rainwater buildup. There were no immediate reports of injuries.

The collapse happened the same day Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff praised the country's preparations for the soccer tournament.

"I'm certain that Brazil will shine on and off the field," Rousseff said Monday in her weekly radio program. "I traveled across the country to inaugurate the six Confederations Cup stadiums ... and was impressed with the beauty and the modernity of these new football stages."

The roof of the Arena Fonte Nova in the northeast city of Salvador apparently was not able to sustain the large amount of water that settled on it after heavy overnight rain Monday.

Workers tried to remove water from the roof to keep other parts from collapsing. Television images from local channel Record showed about 20 people using buckets to clear the sections of the roof that still had water on it. Part of the canvas covering the stands was seen hanging.

Local organizers said engineers were sent to the venue to investigate.

The Fonte Nova was inaugurated in April and will host three Confederations Cup matches, including the high-profile matchup between Brazil and Italy on June 22. The first match at the venue is June 20 -- Nigeria vs. Uruguay.

The 56,000-seat stadium will also host the third-place match June 30 and be used for six games at the 2014 World Cup, including one of the quarterfinals.

In March, heavy rain forced the cancellation of a FIFA inspection visit to the Maracana stadium, which was under renovation for the Confederations Cup. Workers there also used buckets to remove water, which accumulated in parts of the stadium's recently installed roof.

Local organizers recently blamed heavy rain for the delay in delivering the stadium in Brasilia, which will host the June 15 opener of the warm-up tournament. They said the field installation schedule had to be altered because of the rain.

Earlier this year, FIFA stressed it would not accept such excuses for stadium delays leading to the World Cup.

Only two of the six Confederations Cup venues were ready by the December deadline originally established by FIFA. The Estadio Nacional in Brasilia hosted only one test event fully open to the public, and that will also be the case at Maracana.

FIFA usually wants three test events in each venue, but had to make exceptions in Brazil because of the delays.

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