By Anna Kaiser, Contributing Reporter
RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – The bid for the private ownership of the Maracanã football (soccer) stadium for the next 35 years appeared to have been settled Thursday, May 9th. Yet after public outcry, a court order injunction prevented the state government from concluding the contract until the merits of a lawsuit filed by prosecutors were judged.
The group that had won the contract, Consortium Maracanã SA, edged out bidding competitors, Complexo Esportivo, after two months of negotiations, with a final bid R$5.5 million per year, which will total to R$192.5 million over the 35 year period.
Consortium Maracanã SA is made up of three corporations, Brazilian construction giant Odebrecht, who holds ninety percent ownership, Eike Batista’s sport and entertainment corporation IMX, and American entertainment group AEG, who each hold five percent ownership. Consortium Maracanã plans to invest R$594 million in the stadium.
However federal and state public ministers claim the purchase of the Maracanã by the group is unjust because “the values of the rent (of the stadium) and the construction works were made by the same company that runs the administration of the Maracanã,” referring to IMX.
Huge amounts of public upset has been expressed about the privatization of Maracanã Stadium. Considered a cultural icon by many Cariocas, people are fearful of rising ticket prices and increased commercialization of the home of Rio’s indisputably most popular sport.
Advocacy organizations like the Comitê Popular Rio have pointed out that even though the stadium is being sold to private organizations, the state has invested R$932 million into its reconstruction, and is only expected to see R$153 million of that investment returned by 2048.
Judge Gisele Guida de Faria confirmed that stadium will only be privatized after the trial called for by the public minister.
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