World Cup news was looking up, too. Early this morning, news broke that Zahir Belounis had received his exit visa and would leave Qatar shortly.
The French striker had gone two years without wages and couldn’t leave the country until his employers signed off. His plight, widely reported in Western media outlets, severely damaged the credibility of the 2022 World Cup, which will be held in Qatar, with Belounis serving as the face for other migrant workers in harsh conditions constructing the stadiums.
Then, a few hours later, a crane collapsed on the east side of Arena Corinthians. It crushed part of the outer wall, some seats and a huge LED panel. The stadium, also known as Itaquerao, will host the opening ceremony and first game of the 2014 World Cup, as well as five other matches in the tournament.
Updated Corinthians statement: “The crane, which was lifting the last truss of the stadium’s metal cover, fell, causing the piece to fall.”— Jack Lang (@snap_kaka_pop) November 27, 2013
The accident killed at least two people (initial reports said three died), and the count could have been higher if it hadn’t happened during lunch time.
Arena Corinthians, which will cost nearly $360 million according to the AP, was 94 percent finished prior to the accident. Six of the 12 World Cup venues are complete, with a deadline of December to build the rest.
The destruction, though tragic, likely doesn’t imply too much about Brazil’s ability to host a successful World Cup. South Africa also ran down to the wire on construction. It does, however, add to concern about the safety of construction workers in Brazil.
Last RT: 483 workers died in Brazil during civil construction projects in 2010. Events like today’s are tragically common.— Jack Lang (@snap_kaka_pop) November 27, 2013
Which is a bigger issue than just one crane falling.
FIFA, for its part, immediately issued condolence statements and says it is looking into the accident.
Extremely shocked by the news from Sao Paulo. Our thoughts are with the families of the victims of this accident. (1/2)— Jérôme Valcke (@jeromevalcke) November 27, 2013