Brazil v England 'to go ahead' despite Maracana safety fears

Ashley Cole looks on during the England team warm down session on Copacabana Beach ahead of their friendly match against Brazil

Brazil v England

Maracana Stadium
Sunday, 2 June
20:00 BST
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England's friendly with Brazil in Rio de Janeiro on Sunday is due to go ahead despite safety concerns at the recently renovated Maracana stadium.

A court order on Thursday suspended the game but a duty judge later revoked the suspension, a Rio de Janeiro state government statement said.

The state government said it had presented a report showing the stadium complied with safety guidelines.

It had previously failed to deliver the report owing to a "bureaucratic flaw".

"All safety requirements for the friendly between Brazil and England have been complied with and, because of a bureaucratic failure, the appraisal from the public ministry that proves the compliance with the rules on safety at the Maracana have not been sent to Suderj," the Rio government said in a statement.

Suderj is a division of the Rio de Janeiro state authority which is responsible for administrative issues associated with major sports venues.

The iconic 77,000-seat Maracana reopened in April after nearly three years of work updating it for the 2014 World Cup finals.

Even though the work was completed four months behind schedule, local newspapers still reported problems with the venue.

Days before the first test event at the stadium on 27 April - a friendly featuring former Brazil players - seats were still being installed and pavements laid near the venue.

The Jornal do Brasil reported at the time that visitors "needed patience to deal with the many problems" at the venue, arising from the rush to complete it.

It highlighted uneven flooring with small gaps and holes, flooding in the VIP area and a dysfunctional lift, and said some staff had tried to prevent journalists taking pictures of the affected areas.

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The state government blamed its failure to present a key report on a "bureaucratic flaw"

Rio's state prosecutors say there are dangerous materials at the venue, including rocks, pieces of metal and pavement, and that these could pose a threat to the public.

"The stadium is not yet safe to hold a full house of paying public," said South American football writer Tim Vickery, who is based in Rio.

There would have been huge pressure to overturn the suspension because of the embarrassment to the Brazilian authorities, he adds.

England's visit is scheduled to be the first major international test of the facility, with the Confederations Cup beginning two weeks later.

The eight-nation warm-up event for the 2014 World Cup is held every four years in the host country of the following summer's World Cup.

More than 620,000 tickets have been sold for the Confederations Cup games in six different Brazilian cities, with Brazil, Japan, Mexico, Italy, Spain, Uruguay, Tahiti and Nigeria competing.

Roy Hodgson's squad have already arrived in Brazil ahead of what is scheduled to be England's first game at the Maracana since 1984.

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