MONTREAL – Sunday’s accident involving a giant slab of concrete falling from the ceiling of an Olympic Park underground parking facility will not affect the Montreal Impact’s home opener on March 17.
Impact vice president Richard Legendre said at a Monday press conference that the match against the Chicago Fire at Olympic Stadium – for which 41,000 tickets have been sold – will not be affected by the incident, which occurred meters from the Stade Saputo construction site.
“The Olympic Stadium remains very much safe,” Legendre said. “It is very important that the population understand this unfortunate incident does not change anything as far as this historic game is concerned.”
Quebec goverment inspectors have been sent to assess the scene at the 36-year-old facility, which was originally constructed for the 1976 Summer Olympics and was home to baseball's Montreal Expos until 2004. The Impact will play their home games at Olympic Stadium until renovations on Stade Saputo, their permanent home, finish in June.
Construction work at Stade Saputo has been targeted as the probable cause for Sunday's mishap. Legendre said the Impact would fully collaborate with all investigations on the matter and that Stade Saputo would open on time.
“Work is still underway on the whole building site, except around the area of the incident," Legendre said. "The deadline that had been set, June 16 [Stade Saputo’s opener against Seattle Sounders], remains in place. We have known since the beginning that it was a tough deadline to meet, but we’re not moving it.”
Two underground parking facilities remain closed, but all other facilities in and around the Olympic Park have been deemed safe. No one was hurt in Sunday’s incident.