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Court orders seizure of Arena do Grêmio

Featured image credit: Arena do Grêmio

Campeonato Brasileiro Série A football club Grêmio has moved to assure fans that the staging of its home games will not be affected after the Court of Justice of São Paulo ordered the seizure of Arena do Grêmio.

The Court issued its ruling yesterday (Tuesday) following a request from Banco Santander, Banrisul and Banco do Brasil, which helped finance construction of the stadium that opened in December 2012.

Globo Esporte said the lawsuit filed by the banks mentions Arena Porto-Alegrense, operator of the stadium, and Karagounis, a company controlled by a real estate investment fund.

The three banks provided R$210m (£34.1m/€39.9m/$43.3m) for the construction of the 55,225-seat stadium in Porto Alegre, but are said to have only been repaid R$66m with the debt standing at R$226m.

Arena Porto-Alegrense has stated that the current situation relates to “a technical procedure inherent to the process” and that the Arena as a property can only be held responsible for 8% of the debt per contract terms. It added that it will appeal the decision.

GE notes that while Grêmio still owns its former home, Estádio Olímpico Monumental, it does not control Arena do Grêmio, which was sold as a guarantee for the financiers.

Grêmio said: “The club informs that this is an issue that has been closely monitored by the current management, by internal and external lawyers designated to deal specifically with the matter.

“It is important to emphasise that Grêmio is not a party to this process and that it has the right to use the Arena free and clear of any encumbrances. With this, the club, through this statement, aims to reassure its fans that it will continue as the host of its games at the stadium.

“The theme will continue to warrant our best attention and, when appropriate, the institution will eventually be able to bring new information to our fans.”