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A deadly crane collapse adds to the bad news day for Brazil’s World Cup

AP Photo/Nelson Antoine
Not the kind of excitement the World Cup needs.
  • Tim Fernholz
By Tim Fernholz

Senior reporter

brazilThis article is more than 2 years old.

Today, a crane being used to prepare Sao Paolo’s Arena Corinthians for next summer’s World Cup collapsed, killing at least three workers.

The country is rushing to meet a year-end deadline to have twelve stadiums prepared for the global soccer tournament.

News of the accident comes the same day the government released a new estimate for the cost of building the World Cup stadiums, which is some $421 million larger than previously budgeted:

The overall cost of the games is estimated at $11.18 billion, slightly higher than expected but not as big as it might have been after the country cancelled several transportation infrastructure projects they feared would not be finished before the 2014 games. But that won’t improve the mood in Brazil, where protestors took to the streets during this past summer’s Confederations Cup, a kind of shake-down run for the World Cup, in part because of high transportation costs.

Brazil’s economy has been touch-and-go in recent months, as investors fear that that president Dilma Rousseff won’t be be able to overcome structural challenges and public corruption; even former soccer stars are critical of putting money into international athletics before development. While there has been some good news about the country’s economy in recent months, today’s unfortunate crane accident puts an unwelcome exclamation point on concerns about the country’s plans to host the cup—especially when few such projects end up paying off.

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