Tragedy struck on Saturday during Brazil's preparation to host the 2014 World Cup. A construction worker passed away in an accident while building the Arena Corinthians in Sao Paulo, according to a report by Reuters' Andrew Downie.
The worker, Fabio Hamilton da Cruz, fell roughly 25 feet while installing floors on the temporary stands being built specifically to accommodate the big World Cup crowds, said a Santa Marcelina hospital spokesperson.
He is the seventh worker to perish while constructing World Cup stadiums in Brazil and the third to pass away while working on Arena Corinthians, adding to the accident that killed two other workers back in November.
Arena Corinthans, which is one of 12 stadiums planned to host World Cup matches, was originally slated to be completed in December, but the previous accident caused a delay in its construction.
Brazil's entire World Cup preparation process has been beset with adversity. Much of the work on the stadiums has been behind schedule, but FIFA remains confident that Arena Corinthans and the other projects will be finished on time.
Back in January, FIFA Secretary General Jerome Valcke criticized the slow pace of construction on Arena da Baixada, per FIFA.com:
To be very honest, the situation as it stands is not ideal. The stadium is very delayed and well outside the delivery schedule to ensure best use by FIFA and the FIFA World Cup. But we have to be positive and that's why we have come together, as the main driving forces involved, to find solutions. By 18 February, the date of the Team Workshop in Florianopolis, where all 32 qualifying sides will be given important information about the FIFA World Cup, we have to decide between us - the city of Curitiba, the state of Parana, Clube Atletico Paranaense football team, the LOC and FIFA - whether the stadium is in a position on that date to give us the confidence to hold World Cup matches there, without risking the organisation of the event.
Travel to Brazil may be another logistical hurdle for the country. As Pablo Trevisani of The Wall Street Journal reported on March 17, three major renovation projects on Brazilian airports are all behind schedule. That will only increase security concerns ahead of the World Cup, as Mike Dawes of the Daily Mail alluded to back in February.
If accidents such as the one that happened on Saturday continue to persist, it will only grow more difficult to look past them and embrace the impending World Cup.
The resources being devoted to these stadiums and the speed at which the workers are being asked to erect them is creating riskier working conditions for a job that is already stressful and physically laborious.
The hope is that this latest passing at Arena Corinthians can make the workers' safety more of a priority. In the context of Valcke's prior statement and the multiple construction accidents that have already occurred, the issue should be more at the forefront.
Important as it is for Brazil to host a viable World Cup, there are lives at risk in setting the stage for it.
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