City: Sao Paulo, capital of the State of Sao Paulo.
Capacity: 48,000 attendants.
This stadium was chosen as stage of the opening match of the World Cup; FIFA required a minimum capacity of 65,000 attendants. The owner of the stadium, Corinthians, will install removable structures to increase capacity during the World Cup.
Update, October 2012. It was announced that Brazilian company Ambev, one of the major beer makers in the World (owner of Budweiser), will sponsor the building of the 20,000 temporary seats of Itaquerão; these seats will be used during the World Cup (to increase capacity from 48,000 to 68,000 seats) and will be removed after the event.
Owner of stadium: Corinthians.
This is one of the three privately owned stadiums of the World Cup 2014; the other two are Beira-Rio in Porto Alegre and Arena da Baixada in Curitiba.
Corinthians is the most popular club in Sao Paulo, as measured by number of fans, and the second one in Brazil.
For decades, Corinthians had been planning to build an stadium up to its popularity; today, the club owns a small stadium called Parque Sao Jorge, which lacks the structure to stage important matches (i.e., any match where Corinthians is playing).
In the 1980s, the Government had granted the use of a large piece of land in Itaquera (a poor district in the suburbs of the city), provided that Corinthians built an stadium right then. Since then, Corinthians had been trying to raise funds to build the stadium, but always failed.
The first option of stadium to host matches of the Cup in Sao Paulo was Morumbi, which belongs to Sao Paulo FC. Sao Paulo FC, however, didn’t agree to make the investments demanded by FIFA.
The then President of Corinthians, Andre Sanchez, is a very close friend of the President of the World Cup Local Committee, Ricardo Teixeira.
By threatening to exclude Sao Paulo of the Cup, FIFA and Teixeira convinced the Federal Government to accept Itaquerao as the venue, and to help Corinthians get the funds necessary to do the works.
So: FIFA still maintains Sao Paulo as a host (exclude Sao Paulo from the World Cup Brazil would be like exclusing Moscow from the World Cup Russia), Corinthians will build an stadium with cheap (or free) money; and Ricardo Teixeira keeps his friend happy.
The problems: the Federal Government will provide funds to a private party to build a private stadium; the new stadium will be in the distant suburb of Sao Paulo, lacking much infrastructure; it is uncertain whether or not the stadium will be ready for the World Cup.
Update, October 2012. The works in the stadium seem to be delayed (see photos further below). There are reports that Odebrecht is having trouble to obtain fundings (BNDES, the Brazilian official bank which will loan the money is questioning the collaterals offered by Odebrecht).
It is worthy noticing that Ricardo Teixeira resigned to CBF (charged with crimes), and was soon followed by Andre Sanches (who disagreed with the changing of the coach); so, Corinthians lost much of the political power they once had.
Official name: not defined yet.
Both Arena Itaquera and Itaquerao (the Big Itaquera) have been used.
Corinthians already confirmed that selling the naming rights of the stadium will be an important source of revenue; no contract was signed yet.
Design: Coutinho Diegues Cordeiro Arquitetos.
Constructor: Odebrecht (also worked in Recife).
Estimated cost: R$ 900 million.
As Itaquerao is a private enterprise, Corinthians is not obliged to conduct public biddings, nor to disclose actual costs; also, the team has freedom (within limits imposed by FIFA) to change the design or the engineering of the stadium.
Matches and teams: Sao Paulo will host six matches of the World Cup Brazil 2014.
Sao Paulo managed to bring the opening match of the Cup to Itaquerao – the event, which will happen on June 12th 2014, should set new records of world audience, hence drawing lots of attention to the city.
Sao Paulo, however, will host less matches than Rio de Janeiro (which was expected, as Rio will host the final match) and also to Brasilia (which will host seven matches, including the dispute for third place).
Schedule of matches:
June 12th (Thursday): Brazil x
June 19th (Thursday):
June 23rd (Monday):
June 26th (Thursday):
July 1st (Tuesday): Round of 16
July 9th (Wednesday): Semi-final
Map of Itaquerao:
View Larger Map
Photos and Images of Itaquerao.
Above: the stadium will be linked to the station Corinthians Itaquera of the Sao Paulo metro.
Above: the machines didn’t start working until May 2011 (photo: Sao Paulo Government).
Above: February 2012; according to the Brazilian Government, workers are doing three shifts (24 hours a day).
Above: October 2012 (source). Clearly, works are not going as fast as announced and expected. See notes on Controversies, a bit higher in this post, about the lack of funding.
» World Cup in Sao Paulo.