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FIFA World Cup construction worker dies in Brazil

A construction worker has died after falling off the roof of the Arena Amazonia - one of the stadia to be used for the 2014 FIFA World Cup. He has become the fifth person to die in construction ahead of the tournament.

Football's governing body FIFA and the Brazil 2014 Local Organizing Committee confirmed the death of Marcleudo de Melo Ferreira on Saturday, raising yet more controversy over preparations for the tournament.

"FIFA and the Local Organizing Committee [LOC] learned of the death of the worker on Saturday at the Arena Amazonia site with great sadness," a statement read.

"We would like to send our most sincere condolences to his family, relatives, colleagues and friends."

Ferreira died in hospital in Manaus after falling nearly 35 meters (115 feet), becoming the latest fatality after deaths on the same site, as well as ones in Brasilia and Sao Paulo. It is the third death in less than a month, with two people dying on November 27 after a crane dropping a sheet of roofing on them.

Preparations for the tournament, which will be hosted in 12 cities across Brazil, have been overshadowed by delays, accidents and outcry over costs. Six stadia are due for completion between now and April, with several behind schedule. The stadium in Sao Paulo is among them, as is the Arena de Baixada in Curitiba (pictured above).

There, according to AFP, workers have returned to work after downing tools on Friday because of a pay dispute. Around a quarter of the 1,200 workers at the venue had walked off the job in protest of salary delays. They returned on Saturday after receiving back pay.

The LOC and FIFA has made repeated assurances the venues will be ready in time for the tournament's kick off on June 12: "We have just received the report. There are some small delays in construction of stadia. But they are so small that with one exception (Sao Paulo) we can just close our eyes and say everything will be ready,” FIFA President Sepp Blatter said on December 4.

Controversy has also surrounded construction on the infrastructure for the 2022 World Cup in Qatar. An Amnesty International report in November detailed a number of abuses against migrant workers in preparation for the tournament, with Qatar's LOC pledging to left welfare standards as a result.

ph/kms (AFP, AP, Reuters)