The Maracana stadium in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, has officially reopened, despite ongoing concerns over its future due to neglect by owners and local authorities.
According to the Daily Mail newspaper, Rio-based football club Flamengo agreed to pay approximately $1m (€948,200/£821,900) in bills to make its return to the facility in its Copa Libertadores match against Argentine side San Lorenzo. Flamengo last played at the Maracana in November 2016, and have signed a deal to use the Estádio Luso-Brasileiro as cover for the next three years.
Despite having been used during Rio’s hosting of the summer Olympic Games in 2016, the famous venue has fallen into a poor state in recent months and serious doubts have been raised over its future.
The local electricity utility only turned power back on at the stadium two weeks ago, after it was shut off for a month due to a dispute over unpaid bills.
In addition, the venue has been the subject of vandalism, with seats having been torn out and televisions stolen, while the grass field has been left untended for some time.