By Jay Forte, Contributing Reporter
RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – Fans of the Flamengo football (soccer) club, one of the most popular in Brazil if not the world, are still waiting to see if their team will return to the city’s iconic Maracanã Stadium in 2017.
Dispute over who is taking management of the stadium has continued, and Tuesday (December 20th), club President Eduardo Bandeira de Mello reinforced they would play elsewhere if an agreement was not met.
Bandeira said in an interview with SporTV, “[…] if Maracanã is handed over to operators, who want to force Flamengo to play in order to benefit from some contract that is damaging to our interests, we have already warned that we will not play in Maracanã and we will seek other solutions.”
Interested in taking on the task of management along with partners, the Rubro-Negro reiterating its position of not playing games in the stadium depending on who to assume control.
The official statement from the organization said, “Just a few days after the end of the year, the Rio de Janeiro State Government has not yet defined the future of the stadium, leaving the clubs and the entire population of Rio de Janeiro responsible for financing numerous renovations, not knowing when and how to enjoy the stadium again.”
The statement goes on to say, “In this scenario of uncertainty, Flamengo highlights points of extreme relevance and points out the reasons why it opposes a partnership with LU Arenas (Largardère/BWA) and with FERJ [Federação de Futebol do Estado do Rio de Janeiro, or Rio de Janeiro State Football Federation].”
According to SportTV, the desire of Flamengo is that the stadium be administered by the English group CSM, which delivered a proposal in November to the state government of Rio de Janeiro to manage the site. The company also has an agreement with Fluminense, for which Tricolor sends its matches in the Maracanã.
Due to the uncertainty over the use of Maracanã, after the consortium led by Odebrecht has given up managing the site, Flamengo is studying designs to set up bleachers for the Luso-Brasileiro, on Ilha do Governador. The Portuguesa football club stadium was used by Botafogo during the Campeonato Brasileiro.