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Maracanã back in the hands of Rio government

The state government in Rio de Janeiro is set to regain control of the iconic Maracanã stadium after announcing that it has annulled a contract with its private administrators.

In a statement published yesterday (Monday), the government said that the state is owed around BRL38m (£7.6m/€8.8m/$10m) by Maracanã SA, the group currently running the 78,000-seat stadium, which served as the centrepiece of the 2014 FIFA World Cup.

The government is set to reveal more details on its decision to determine the contract later today.

Maracanã SA, which is led by the Odebrecht conglomerate, will comment on the situation after reviewing the decision, the Associated Press news agency reported.

The current operator has overseen the running of the stadium since 2017 after securing a 35-year contract.

Odebrecht has become embroiled in Brazil’s Operation Car Wash corruption investigation, leading to the arrest of its chief executive and other senior officials. Maracanã SA’s contract with the government was subsequently investigated by Rio’s state legislature.

The state government has now announced that Maracanã SA has failed to oblige to the terms of the contract. The government said that the consortium has failed in its administration and shown disregard for the maintenance of the stadium.

The termination of the deal will take 30 days to come into effect. Maracanã SA, Odebrecht and Odebrecht Properties Entretenimiento have been banned from taking part in public tenders in the state for two years.

Rio governor Wilson Witzel said: “We are regaining the Maracanã, and this without any detriment to the hosting of football matches, among other events.

“We will be developing the permission-use model until we make a new concession that will include a project to revitalise the entire environment.”

The Maracanã, which also hosted football matches during the Rio 2016 Olympic Games, will stage the final of this year’s Copa America.

Image: Visit Rio