The 2014 FIFA World Cup is quickly turning into a disaster for host country Brazil. The latest scandal comes from Manaus head groundskeeper Carlos Botella, who says the field at Amazonia Arena is far from being ready for group play.
“Frankly, Manaus is in bad shape,” [head groundsman Carlos] Botella told The Guardian. “We’ve started to implement an emergency plan to try to save the field and improve it as much as possible, but I don’t think it’ll be in good condition by the weekend.”
That emergency plan has officials worried and rightfully so. The cause of the spotty patches have been attributed to ‘excessive fertilizer use’. The sparkling $300 million arena has now become the symbol for Brazil”s mismanagement of the World Cup. A construction worker died last year while the remote roads to the stadium are far from hospitable to visitors.
Manaus will host four group play matches but no knockout rounds. In fact, the stadium may not host another game after the Cup concludes. That’s because there are reports the brand new stadium could be turned into a prison next year.
After criticizing the city of Manaus over the conditions, karmic forces conspired against England because they will open their tourney in Manaus against Italy. England head coach Roy Hodgson, who already voiced concerns on the conditions at Manaus, says he plans to send a team staffer to survey the field prior to their match.
England has a legit gripe here. While both teams ultimately will have to deal with field conditions, this definitely serves as more proof that Brazil has problems beyond hosting the World Cup. Placing the logistical nightmare of rebuilding a stadium in the middle of a jungle aside, Brazil is far from ready — and all of this with matches set to start this week.
Around the stadium, structures are still being constructed and the traffic is expected to choke the city’s grid as motorists and visitors can expect two-hour traffic jams to the stadium. Though Brazil is proud to be hosting the beautiful game, pressure is mounting and evidence is racking up that the money could have been better spent elsewhere.