Heavy rains in the Brazilian north-eastern city of Salvador tore through the roof of a newly constructed stadium for Confederations Cup soccer games starting next month, a warm-up 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 constructions 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 in the world 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 bussed 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.
In a weekly radio chat broadcast on government radio, President Dilma Rousseff on Monday expressed delight at having christened, often by kicking a ball at midfield, all six Confederations Cup venues.
”These six stadiums show that the (Brazilian) people have the determination, capacity and competence to host the best World Cup of all time,” she said.
The 50,000-seat Salvador stadium, known as the Fonte Nova, has been rebuilt at a cost of 600 million Reais (293 million dollars).