The first stadium to be completed for the FIFA Confederations Cup Brazil 2013 and 2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil™, the Castelao underwent a vital test event on Sunday, when Ceara took on local rivals Fortaleza in a Ceara state championship match.
Played out before a crowd of 16,000, the game ended in a 1-0 win for Ceara and gave the 2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil Organising Committee (LOC) an opportunity to run through key stadium procedures with the local authorities.
Five service areas were assessed in all: cleaning and refuse collection, transport, competitions, spectator services and IT. Summarising the day’s evaluations, LOC Stadiums Operations Manager Tiago Paes said the results were positive.
“Every area received a very thorough assessment,” he commented. “We worked throughout the whole weekend and held a lot of meetings with the stadium operator and the military police force. Our liaison with them and the planning of actions have yielded very positive results already, and that kind of cooperation is essential. There are always going to be changes here and there, but everything went off well.”
The spectator services test focused on the flow of fans from the stadium’s ticket offices through the turnstiles and into the stands. Discussing its results, Paes said: “We’ll be organising queues and seeing fans make their way into the stadium in an orderly fashion. They’ll be forming snake queues between barriers and will reach turnstiles with a minimum of fuss.
“The military police liked the system we used and will start to use it at other matches and events here at the Castelao. The LOC was very pleased to hear that because it’s a legacy for the stadium.”
Moving inside the stadium, the pitch came under inspection from the LOC’s competitions department, who monitored the mowing of the grass and the irrigation system, checking to ensure that procedures conformed to FIFA guidelines.
The pitch was watered before the Ceara-Fortaleza game for the same period of time as for games at the FIFA Confederations Cup.
Elsewhere the IT department carried out the final modifications of the sound system, which now features 72 speakers. The stadium’s big screens and radio communications system were also put to the test, as was the control room and the TV signal to the VIP boxes.
As part of the day’s other tests, the transport department organised and monitored the arrival of the team buses and the alighting of players in the dressing-room access area. Meanwhile, the LOC’s cleaning and refuse collection department issued instructions to the team that will work at the stadium during the FIFA Confederations Cup, informing workers of the international guidelines they must follow in going about their jobs.
In search of operational excellence
The Castelao has already hosted 19 events since it was opened on 16 January, all but three of them being football matches. That number is expected to rise to 30 in the lead-up to the FIFA Confederations Cup, including a concert to be given by Paul McCartney on 9 May.
As Ferruccio Feitosa, the Special FIFA World Cup Secretary for Ceara state, explained, each of these events represents a step forward in the quest for operational excellence: “What we are aiming to do is to adapt services to each event so that we can attain a high level of excellence for our opening match at the Confederations Cup.”
That first game in Fortaleza is the meeting between Brazil and Mexico on 19 June, part of Matchday 2 in Group A. The other two matches to be staged in Ceara’s state capital are the Group B game between Nigeria and Spain on 23 June and the second semi-final four days later.
LOC CEO Ricardo Trade said he was delighted to see the Castelao fully operational, and underlined the importance of test events such as Sundays: “All six stadiums will have undergone test events prior to the Confederations Cup. These evaluations put sensitive, complex and key operational areas to the test, generating vital information for the organisers and operators and allowing the necessary modifications to be made to ensure that everything works smoothly when the competition gets under way.”
The next test event will take place on 24 April at the friendly between Brazil and Chile at the Mineirao in Belo Horizonte.