Roof slide given new deadline

Despite delays in the final sliding of a massive steel-and-polycarbonate roof into place over the main Athens Olympic stadium, the International Olympic Committee has granted constructors an extra three weeks to complete the project, a report said yesterday. According to initial IOC strictures, the first of the two 9,000-ton sections should have started rolling yesterday. But an IOC spokesman quoted by Reuters said a new deadline has been set for May 20. The Committee had originally expressed grave concern over the project’s progress, warning that the 130-million-euro shelter would have to be scrapped in the case of great delay, so as not to jeopardize the completion of other works at the 80,000-spectator stadium. Yesterday, Deputy Culture Minister for Olympic preparations Fanni Palli-Petralia told The Associated Press that 80 percent of the work is ready. «The covering could have been a source of delay, but that is not the case now,» she said, adding that the placement could start by next week.