Forgotten Stadium

The world renowned olympic venue now a ghost town

Zach Stevens, Staff Reporter

Rio de Janeiros’ world famous soccer stadium, the Maracana, has become a complete ghost town just six months after being the host of the 2016 summer Olympic games. The stadium played host to the opening and closing ceremonies of the summer games. This famous landmark also played host to the 2016 Paralympics, the 2014 FIFA World Cup, and was the stadium the world famous soccer legend and one of Brazil’s own, Edson Arantes do Nascimento, or known as Pele, scored his one thousandth goal and led Brazil’s national team to a World Cup finals in 1950.

“We know about the importance of the Maracana in the history of Brazilian football,” states Brazilian defender Marquinhos before taking the field for the summer olympics semifinals game against Honduras, “We grew up hearing stories about the stadium. For everything that has happened here, it’s a special place here for us. To be playing a semifinal and a final at Maracana is like a dream to everyone who is here.”

Now tours for the famous venue have been suspended due to looting and vandalism to the stadium. All of the looting and vandalism has led to countless memorabilia and equipment being stolen with no idea where to search for the valuable pieces. The grass on the field itself is brown and is on the verge of completely dying. And not to mention, there is nearly 78,000 chairback seats missing from inside the stadium.

“There are things that you can see on the surface that are damaged, like the grass and the seats,”  Daelcio de Freitas, spokesperson for Maracana SA, the firm responsible for the stadium’s upkeep, told CNN.

“However, what we are most concerned about is the safety of the people who are coming to Maracana and we need to make sure things, like the stadium’s roof, weren’t compromised,” stated Freitas. The firm in charge of the stadium stated that Rio 2016, the olympic committee that was in charge of the venues during the game, was to blame for the stadiums’ rigid appearance because of a breach in the contract, which stated that after the games, the stadium must be returned in conditions stated in the contract.

A spokesperson for Rio 2016 said that they, “were not responsible,” for the problems that has overcome the Maracana. Rio 2016 is currently in talks with Maracana SA negotiating the payment of 1.7 million reals ($539.494), which is more than half of what is owed, just to light the stadium.