World Cup: Construction halted at Manaus stadium, site of Portugal-USA, after second fatality

Following the death on Saturday of a construction worker at the Arena Amazônia in Manaus -- where the US national team is due to play Portugal on June 22 at next summer's FIFA World Cup -- a Brazilian labor court has halted construction on the stadium.

Judge Maria Nely Bezerra de Oliveira granted the order on Sunday after prosecutors petitioned on Saturday night for the "immediate" end to work at the site. The court, located in Manaus, that inspectors had reported 114 violations at the stadium site since construction began.

Marcleudo de Melo Ferreira, 22, was the second construction worker to die this year while working on the Arena Amazônia, which features an intricate latticework roof that requires many workers to be very high in the air.

"Because of the risks inherent with this type of development, we have constantly monitored the work," the judge said. "But despite the relentless work of the authorities, we have nevertheless witnessed the repeated noncompliance with work laws. Now with the death of yet another worker, we believe it is time to take action to prevent further tragedy."

The judge also ordered the construction company, Andrarde Gutierrez, to be fined daily if they don't halt work immediately.

Officials hoped to hold a test event at the stadium on January 15. No word yet on whether that event will go on as planned. Also, there is no indication of how long construction would be halted or what the impact of delays will be on the stadium's World Cup match schedule.

Along with Portugal-USA, the Arena Amazônia is due to host three other matches, including England-Italy (June 14), Cameroon-Croatia (June 18), and Honduras-Switzerland (June 25).


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