Rio government closes 2016 Olympic stadium

2013-03-27 03:38:10 GMT2013-03-27 11:38:10(Beijing Time)  Xinhua English

Rio de Janeiro mayor Eduardo Paes has confirmed the closure of Rio's 2016 Olympic track and field stadium due to structural problems.

The announcement follows an assessment by an unnamed private construction company, which said the Engenhao Stadium posed a safety risk due to "cracks" and "movement" in the roof's support structure, according to local media.

Speaking during a press conference on Tuesday night, Paes said the stadium would be closed for an "indefinite period".

"There is a structural problem with the stadium's roof and we are going to find a definitive solution," Paes said.

"The [construction] consortium has shown me what the problems are but at this stage there is still no proposal for a solution. If they tell me the stadium needs to be closed for a month, it will be closed for a month. If it needs to stay closed for a year, it will be closed for a year."

Consorcio Engenhao, the building consortium responsible for the project, said it had been collaborating with the local government to find a quick solution.

"We have been involved in talks with the mayor regarding the matter.Tomorrow [Wednesday] will will go into more detail about the technical aspects of the problems found," a spokesperson for the consortium said.

Built for the 2007 Pan-American games, the 47,000-capacity Engenhao Stadium is currently Rio's only available major football venue.

The iconic Maracana Stadium, currently undergoing major refurbishment work, is not expected to host domestic fixtures until after June's FIFA Confederations Cup.

Officials from Rio's four biggest clubs - Flamengo, Fluminense, Vasco da Gama and Botafogo - now face a logistical nightmare as they seek suitable venues for state championship, national league and Copa Libertadores matches.

"It's a delicate situation. Tickets have been sold and there are a number of logistical issues," Fluminense director Rodrigo Caetano said.

The Engenhao closure is the latest in a series of stadium controversies to affect Brazil's preparations for the 2014 World Cup and the 2016 RIo Olympics.

Only two of the country's six Confederations Cup venues are ready despite having initially been given a December 2012 construction deadline by world football's governing body FIFA.

The Confederations Cup, which will be held from June 15-30, is considered an organizational warm-up for the World Cup a year later.

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