Wednesday 26 July 2017

Rio police investigate looting at Maracana Stadium

The Maracana stadium in Rio de Janeiro. (AP/Felipe Dana)
The Maracana stadium in Rio de Janeiro. (AP/Felipe Dana)

Police are investigating the theft of several items from the world famous Maracana Stadium in Rio de Janeiro.

Officers said two bronze busts, two television sets and a piece of copper hose were stolen.

One of the statues is of journalist Mario Filho, the man the football stadium is officially named after.

The Maracana, which hosted the 2014 World Cup final and the opening ceremony of the Rio Olympics in August, has not been used since a friendly match in late December.

The Rio de Janeiro newspaper O Globo, given access to the stadium, showed photos of seats ripped out, brown grass left unwatered in Rio's sweltering summer, and paint peeling off interior walls.

Stadium administrator Odebrecht wants to give the stadium back to Rio state authorities.

Both Odebrecht and the Rio state government have been troubled by corruption scandals and a financial crisis.

Rio de Janeiro football federation officials are to meet next week with Rio's clubs.

They are likely to want the state government to intervene, which is unlikely because the state has declared a "financial calamity" and is months behind paying teachers and other public employees.

The stadium was remodelled for the 2014 World Cup, the start of costly spending programmes to host the football tournament, and last year's Rio Olympics.

AP

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