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Soccer: Brazilian state fines builders over World Cup stadium faults

SAO PAULO (Reuters) - The company in charge of preparing the Mineirao stadium for the 2014 World Cup was fined one million Brazilian reals ($502,900) on Monday for a series of serious shortcomings which became apparent when the stadium was reopened last weekend.

The stadium in the state capital Belo Horizonte, also a venue for this year's Confederations Cup, hosted the Cruzeiro-Atletico Mineiro derby on Sunday but problems were identified with access points, car parks, bars and water supply.

"We were able identify some faults that are normal, like the issue of access, parking," state government official Tiago Lacerda said in a statement.

"They are faults that easily corrected, but we had grave faults in relation to the bars, lack of water. For this reason we are going to hand down a fine of one million reals," Lacerda, head of the state's special secretariat for the World Cup (Secopa-MG), said.

State governor Antonio Anastasia told the consortium to take steps to ensure everything worked properly for the next scheduled matches, starting with Cruzeiro's state championship meeting with America on Wednesday.

"Unfortunately, there were serious operational errors, defects in the stadium," Anastasia said, adding his government would go by the letter of the contract with the consortium to guarantee it functioned properly.

The Mineirao was the second stadium to be ready for the Confederations Cup, a mini World Cup dress rehearsal to be played in six Brazilian venues in June.

The first, the Castelao in the northern city of Fortaleza, held its inaugural games last month.

World soccer's governing body FIFA has set a final deadline of mid-April, four months behind schedule, for the stadiums in Brasilia, Recife, Rio de Janeiro and Salvador to be handed over to the tournament organisers. ($1 = 1.9884 Brazilian reals)

(Reporting by Tatiana Ramil; writing by Rex Gowar in London)

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