Rio teams club together for Maracanã proposal

Campeonato Brasileiro Série A football club Vasco da Gama has put forward a novel proposal for Maracanã stadium that would see Rio de Janeiro’s four major football clubs oversee the management of the embattled venue.

Vasco has proposed that it join together with Botafogo, Flamengo and Fluminense to form a consortium entitled Maracanã Carioca SA. The Globo Esporte website said the proposal has already received the backing of Flamengo, which like Fluminense has previously expressed interest in the contract on offer.

Last month, the state government in Rio announced that it had annulled a contract with the stadium’s private administrators, allowing it to regain control of the facility. In a statement published at the time, the government said the state was owed around BRL38m (£7.5m/€8.8m/$9.9m) by Maracanã SA, which was led by the Odebrecht conglomerate.

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, which led to last month’s announcement.

The state’s intervention has led to the launch of a tender process to secure a new partner from April 19, for an initial period of 180 days. The deadline for offers is tomorrow (Thursday) with a winner set to be announced on Friday.

Globo Esporte said Maracanã Carioca SA would consist of a board of directors made up two officials apiece from the four clubs, plus one appointed by the state and two independent members. The operation of football matches at the stadium would be overseen by the clubs, which would divide up its calendar of use.

Vasco president Alexandre Campello said: “We believe that clubs do not need intermediaries. The clubs know how to operate the games, they know the game operation, and I do not see the need to have an intermediary. Someone is just taking a slice of the cake, which should be shared only between clubs and the federation.”

Campello added that while he is unsure of the Maracanã’s maintenance costs, these should be shared with the state. “I think that the government must somehow participate in this management, not bearing all the burden, but in some way contributing to the Maracanã, which is for the good of the people, serves the people, and serves the great events and football.”

Vasco’s proposal is set to face competition from a rival offer of a consortium grouping together the Bravo Live, Time for Fun and Golden Goal agencies. The six-month contract will take in the period during which the Maracanã will serve as a key venue during Brazil’s staging of the 2019 Copa America national team tournament.

Image: Government of Brazil