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Brazil 2014 World Cup Crisis Deepens With 7th Worker Death

FIFA Secretary General Jerome Valcke
FIFA Secretary General Jerome Valcke visits the Corinthians Arena in Sao Paulo, on January 20, 2014. Photographer: Miguel Schincariol/AFP via Getty Images

Brazil’s World Cup preparations suffered another blow yesterday after a construction worker died in an accident at the Sao Paulo stadium that will host the soccer tournament opener in 74 days.

The worker, Fabio Hamilton da Cruz, died at a hospital after falling 8 meters (about 26 feet) while installing temporary seating at the Corinthians Arena, world governing body FIFA said.

Cruz’s death is the third at the $355 million venue, which has become a major concern for event organizers, and the seventh in accidents at World Cup stadiums in Brazil. His age and hometown weren’t disclosed.

Workers are rushing to finish projects at several of the 12 sites that will host games during the monthlong tournament. Almost every stadium has missed deadlines and three venues remain unfinished. Preparations for the event have embarrassed South America’s biggest country with spiraling construction costs, urban mobility programs scrapped or delayed amid public anger at the $11 billion Brazil is spending to put on the soccer showpiece.

“Deeply saddened by the tragic loss of a worker at Arena Sao Paulo,” Jerome Valcke, FIFA general secretary, said yesterday in a post on social messaging site Twitter. “My thoughts and condolences are with his family and colleagues.”

Brazil Meetings

Valcke, the top FIFA official responsible for the World Cup, was in Brazil last week to hold meetings with government officials and local organizers to ensure the country is ready to host the event. Brazil’s problems will lead to a reassessment of how the tournament is organized in the future, he told reporters three days ago.

“It’s a lesson and definitely we will act differently and we will have to find a different way of working in Russia in 2018,” Valcke told a news conference in Rio de Janeiro.

Fast Engenharia, the contractor that hired the firm employing Cruz, confirmed the death in an e-mailed statement. Odebrecht SA, Brazil’s biggest construction company and the firm building the stadium, didn’t reply to an e-mail from Bloomberg News seeking comment.

As the work to get stadiums ready has accelerated so have the number of deaths, with five workers dying in accidents nationwide since a crane collapse killed two men in Sao Paulo in November.

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