By Jayme Monsanto, Senior Reporter
RIO DE JANEIRO – In September of this year, the Maracanã Stadium will close its doors to begin a large-scale reconstruction in order to comply with FIFA recommendations for the World Cup.
According to the FIFA, every stadium in the competition must have minimal viewing conditions from any of the seats and a roof protecting the entire audience. The lower seats of Maracanã are not under cover, and according to FIFA, do not provide an adequate view for spectators, so now, renovation is needed.
With the demolition and reconstruction of the lower seats, the Maracanã’s capacity will be reduced by 3,300 seats. In 1950, the stadium supported a huge capacity of 150,000, and nowadays has been reduced to 86,700 seats.
After the upgrade is complete, the new capacity of the stadium will be for 83,400 spectators. Other changes include, the addition of extra catwalks to improve the evacuation time of the stadium. The average time to leave Maracanã after a crowded event is forty minutes, while FIFA says it must be a maximum eight minutes.
Among all the measures of Maracanã’s reform, one of the most popular is the paint job. The Rio de Janeiro Tourism, Sports and Leisure Department decided to paint the stadium back to its original color, gray.
After the work is done, Rio’s main temple of soccer will look just like it did in 1950, when it was built specifically to host that year’s World Cup matches. “We want a modern Maracanã on the inside, but with the classical beauty of the original architecture project on the outside”, said the Tourism, Sports and Leisure secretary, Márcia Lins.
FIFA also defines the need for an average of one parking spot for every six people attending any of the World Cup matches in the radius of a mile from the stadium. This is the only requirement that still doesn’t have an answer from the government.
The options being considered are the demolition of the Julio Delamare and Celio de Barros sports complexes, both of them located in the grounds of the Maracanã stadium and the construction of a parking lot in their place, or an urbanistic makeover in the entire surrounding areas of the stadium to provide extra parking space.
Maracanã will close its doors on September 2010, and the estimated deadline of the renovation is December 2012.