Rio's Maracana stadium faces closure threat

Rio de Janeiro, Sep 18 (IANS): Public prosecutors in Brazil have threatened to close Rio de Janeiro's Maracana Stadium amid fears the venue does not meet minimum safety standards.

Prosecutor Glicia Pessanha Crispim has written to the Brazilian Football Confederation (CBF) requesting the submission of a new engineering report, according to Rio de Janeiro's Public Ministry.

In the letter, received by the CBF Sep 11, Crispim said the current report does not meet requirements set by Brazil's sports ministry, reports Xinhua.

It stated the organisation had 30 days to provide a satisfactory response. Failure to do so could result in the stadium's closure.

No further details were given about the stadium's alleged failings.

The CBF forwarded the request to the Rio de Janeiro Football Federation (Ferj) last Friday. According to reports, Ferj has in turn left the matter with the stadium's administrator, Complexo Maracana Entretenimento S.A.

Ferj's competition director Marcelo Vianna played down the possibility of the stadium's closure.

"If the report hasn't been accepted, it does in fact mean the stadium cannot be used," Vianna said. "But it's a stadium that has met FIFA's World Cup standards. There is no reason why this can't be resolved."

he demand has cast new doubt over Brazil's ability to successfully host next year's World Cup and the Rio 2016 Olympics.

The Maracana stadium, which reopened in June after almost three years of renovation, will host the World Cup final in July as well as the opening and closing Olympic ceremonies.

In June, public prosecutors temporarily suspended Brazil's international friendly with England after Maracana officials failed to submit documents that guaranteed fans' safety. A judge reversed the decision just two days before the match.

Rio's Engenhao stadium, which will stage track and field events at the 2016 Olympics, was closed in March after an independent engineering report found the roof was in danger of collapsing. The venue is not expected to reopen until June next year.

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