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Cruzeiro signs stadium deal for return to Série A

Featured image credit: Paulo JC Nogueira/CC BY-SA 3.0/Edited for size

Cruzeiro has reached an agreement with fellow Campeonato Brasileiro Série A club América to play matches at the latter’s Arena Independência during the 2023 season.

Cruzeiro’s men’s team will be permitted to use the stadium when its home matches do not clash with América’s. Financial details of the agreement between the two Belo Horizonte clubs were not disclosed.

The deal has been struck as Cruzeiro returns to the top-tier Série A after winning the Série B title last season. The club split games between the Arena Independência and the Mineirão last season.

Cruzeiro’s relationship with Minas Arena, which operates the Mineirão, has deteriorated, raising question marks over where the club would play this season. Cruzeiro is owned by Brazilian legend Ronaldo, who said last week that Minas Arena wants to transform the Mineirão into a venue that focuses more on live shows and entertainment.

Ronaldo has previously raised the possibility of building a new stadium for Cruzeiro but the club will spend the 2023 season at the Arena Independência after reaching an agreement with América.

América president Marcus Salum said: “Arena Independência is a stadium that meets all expectations for football and even other events. We had a transparent and respectful conduct in this agreement with Cruzeiro. 

“Therefore, we will have new possibilities with the signed partnership. The priority of dates will always be América, but it is important to have alternatives that make clubs stronger and increase the possibility of other investments from the results generated for football in Minas Gerais.”

Cruzeiro chief executive Gabriel Lima added: “Since the beginning of the talks, Cruzeiro has always been highly respected by América, who promptly understood what our needs and desires are, at a turbulent moment in the discussion about stadiums. 

“So we are grateful for the way in which this agreement was handled and we hope that it is just the first stage of a joint construction between the clubs. This partnership only enhances football in Minas Gerais.”

The Arena Independência has a capacity of 23,000. The Mineirão was used during the 2014 FIFA World Cup and has a capacity of around 62,000.