Author`s name Timothy Bancroft-Hinchey

With risk of ceiling collapse, Olympic Stadium in Rio closes indefinitely

Three years before the 2016 Olympics, Rio de Janeiro still does not know what to do to save the João Havelange Olympic Stadium, known as Engenhão, which will stage the athletics events of the Games. Opened six years ago at a cost of RS376 million, it is forbidden indefinitely because the ceiling is at risk of collapsing.

By Mauro Graeff Júnior/ Canarinho Press

The Mayor of Rio, Eduardo Paes, took the decision to close the stadium. He took into account reports of a German company that pointed out risk of collapse of the coverage if there were winds over 63 km/h, which is not very difficult to happen in Brazil. The estimate is that a diagnosis of the problems is made within 60 days and then start the repairs to the metal frame that supports the roof. There is no deadline for the stadium to be reopened, but experts believe this year it will no longer be reopened to the public.

"The consortium that built the stadium has been monitoring its structure and came to me today saying that there are structural problems in the project. Asked if the problem posed some risk, and given the positive response, we decided to close. I'm not going to play around with it," said the Mayor of Rio

The situation is critical for football in Rio de Janeiro as the Maracanã stadium, another large one, is closed due to renovations for the World Cup 2014 and will be released for play only after July. With the ban, the big clubs of Rio will be forced to play within the state. The one which has its own stadium is Vasco da Gama. Flamengo, with the largest fan club in the world, will play in a small stadium in the city of Volta Redonda, 124 km from the capital.

Blame game
The city announced that the priority is to diagnose the problems to begin repair work. Only after that will it investigate the perpetrators of the problem, since it is a new stadium. The engineer responsible for the design and construction to finish the work already denied responsibility.

João Havelange Stadium was built for the Pan American Games 2007. It was inspired by the Stadium of Light, Benfica's Stadium, in Portugal. The work began in 2003 originally budgeted at RS60 million but the final cost came to RS376 million. At the time, the works were delayed and the company that began construction gave up the project.



Olga Santos


Portuguese version



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