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FIFA wants nations to rename stadiums as Pelé tribute

Featured image credit: Santos FC

FIFA plans to ask all footballing nations to name one of their stadiums after Brazilian icon Pelé, who passed away at the end of December.

FIFA president Gianni Infantino told reporters in Brazil, where he is attending Pelé’s funeral, that all countries should associate the three-time World Cup winner’s name with one of their arenas.

Pelé’s body has been lying in state at Estádio Urbano Caldeira, the home ground of his former club, Santos, which is also known as Vila Belmiro or Pelé. Rio de Janeiro scrapped plans to name the famous Maracana Stadium after Pelé after it was vetoed by the state governor in April 2021.

Infantino said: “We’re going to ask every country in the world to name one of their football stadiums with the name of Pele.

“His life is about more than football. He changed perceptions for the better in Brazil, in South America and across the world. His legacy is impossible to summarise in words.”

Pelé, who was born Edson Arantes do Nascimento, died on December 29 at 82 years old after a long illness.

A 24-hour public wake began on Monday, with Pelé lying in state at the home of Santos, where he spent 18 years as a player, and scored 643 goals in 659 games. His coffin, placed in the centre of the pitch, has been visited by thousands of mourners as they gathered to pay their respects. Some fans queued overnight to see the coffin, with thousands more gathering on the streets as the hearse passed through on its way to the stadium.

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