Last Friday (January 13) the Rio de Janeiro Government received an injunction demanding that the Maracanã S.A follow through with its contract of managing and repairing the Maracanã stadium.
The Rio de Janeiro government sold the management of the stadium to the private concessionaire in 2013 in order to guarantee that the Maracanã would acquire the necessary funds for its reconstruction for the 2014 World Cup and 2016 Olympics—a job that cost the government R$1.3 Billion ($400 Million). The agreement stated that Maracanã S.A would have the right to explore the stadium’s profits for 35 years in exchange for an interest of R$5.5 million (approx. $1.7 million) per year. The contract also stated that during the Olympics, the possession of the stadium be conducted by the International Olympic Committee (IOC).
Problems arose after the Olympics when Maracanã S.A received the stadium in poor condition. The private group refused to take over the stadium until the IOC paid the necessary reparations. The Brazilian National Soccer League was using the stadium at the time. Teams and the Rio government managed to pay for minimal adjustments in order to play a couple of games.
After the championship ended in December, teams and government completely stopped financing the stadium. Maracanã S.A refused to take over Maracanã, deserting one of Brazil’s and the soccer world’s most prominent icons.
The stadium was built in the 1950’s and has frequented Brazil’s postcards. The world’s most popular club (CR. Flamengo) hosts its games there, and the soccer world idolized the Maracanã.
Right now the stadium is beginning to fall into pieces. 7,000 of its seats are missing, its walls are filled with holes, the pitch’s grass is starting to die off and a number of street cats have taken shelter in the Maracanã. The stadium has no electricity. To make matters worse, Maracanã S.A is owned by Oedebrecht, a construction company indicted in the Lava Jato investigation.
While Brazilians understand that construction regarding the Olympics and The World Cup will eventually turn into “white elephants,” nobody can believe this has happened to the Maracanã. A monument in which Brazilians have always taken pride, now symbolizes the corruption and mismanagement that led the country to the crisis it goes through today.