By Nelson Belen, Contributing Reporter
RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – Heated Rio de Janeiro rivals, Flamengo and Fluminense, came together on Wednesday, July 5th, releasing a joint statement indicating that the two clubs would unite to find home pitch alternatives to the increasingly untenable Maracanã Stadium.
With the cost of playing at the iconic Maracanã becoming more and more unfeasible to Rio’s clubs and with Odebrecht about to leave the management of the stadium, Flamengo and Fluminense are actively moving to construct their own stadiums in Rio.
Recently, it was leaked to various news outlets that Fluminense, in particular, was maneuvering behind the scenes to build a stadium at Olympic Park in Barra.
The leaks allegedly angered Fluminense management as several days after the reports, the club abruptly ousted the club’s Vice President of Special Projects, Pedro Antonio Ribeiro da Silva, who had been overseeing Flu’s stadium project.
In Wednesday’s statement, revealing the union of the two teams in the hopes of finding alternative home stadiums, Pedro Abad, Fluminense club President said, “It is the goal of Fluminense’s board to build our stadium, have our house. It is our management’s task to take this significant step and we consider it extremely important to count on the partnership of Flamengo.”
Abad added, “The ability of the two institutions will make the difference as will the success of our planning, which aims not only to contribute to elevate the level of both clubs, but also to add significantly to the daily lives of the fans and the Rio population.”
Flamengo President, Eduardo Bandeira de Mello, explained, “It is extremely beneficial and important to the clubs that Flamengo and Fluminense work together to develop stadium solutions that meet the wishes of the fans and that take into account the public interest: the residents of the city and the taxpayers.”
He added, “This effort includes the search for a solution to Maracanã, unfortunately increasingly distant, and the operation of our own stadium alternatives for each of the clubs.”
Fluminense will be the first of the two clubs to play next at Maracanã. The club will face off against Botafogo at the iconic stadium on Wednesday, July 12th.
Last night, the Rubro-Negra were in Santiago, Chile, where the club dismantled Palestino 5-2 in the second round of the 2017 Copa Sul-Americana.