By Georgia Grimond, Senior Contributing Reporter

RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – Three-quarters of the people who work at the Maracanã stadium in Rio de Janeiro lost their jobs on Monday (January 4th). The consortium, comprised of Odebrecht SA and AEG, that runs the venue announced that forty people would be laid off in a bid to reduce costs in preparation for the 2016 Olympic Games in August.

Brazil, Brazil News, Rio de Janeiro, Rio 2016, Olympic Games, 2016 Olympic and Paralympic Games, Maracanã, Maracanã Stadium
The inside of the Maracanã, Rio’s 79,000-seat football stadium and Olympic venue, photo by Wikimedia Creative Commons Licence.

The Maracanã, in the city’s Zone Norte (North Zone), is Brazil’s best-known football stadium and is due to host both the opening and closing ceremonies of the Olympic Games, as well as key football matches. It will also form the heart of one of the four venues in the city, taking in the Maracanãzinho (Little Maracanã) and Sambódromo too.

The consortium said that the cuts were made in preparation for the exclusive use of the venue by the Olympic organizers in Rio. However Rio 2016 have stated that they only require use of the Maracanã from April 15th. They will use it for nine months for the duration of the Olympic and Paralympic games.

Odebrecht SA and AEG won the contract to manage the stadium for 35 years in May 2013. They paid R$26.4 million more than other bidders, offering a total of R$181.5 million to be paid in 33 installments.

However after two years of losses the consortium is in the process of renegotiating its contract with the state government to whom it may be returned after the Games in 2017.

In the meantime, tours of the venue and its maintenance will continue staffed by contractors.

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