The awarding of the operating rights for Rio de Janeiro’s Maracana stadium to a consortium of private companies under the banner of Consorcio Maracana is under scrutiny after a judge ruled that the decision be suspended.
Odebrecht, Brazil’s biggest construction company, on Thursday teamed up with Anschutz Entertainment Group and billionaire Eike Batista’s sports and entertainment vehicle IMX to agree a deal to operate the famous Maracana venue, which will host the 2014 FIFA World Cup final. However, Judge Gisela Faria has ruled that there had been irregularities in the bidding process, stating that one of the companies in the consortium had been unfairly advantaged.
Consorcio Maracana had agreed a 35-year contract to operate the stadium, which will also host the opening and closing ceremonies of the 2016 Rio de Janeiro Olympic Games. The bid defeated that of a rival offering from Brazilian building company OAS, the French media giant Lagardere and Stadion Amsterdam, operator of the Dutch city’s Amsterdam ArenA. Judge Faria’s ruling revealed that IMX had produced a viability study in the earlier stages of the process. “Even before the bids were put forward, the principle of fairness among the competitors had been disregarded,” said Judge Faria, according to BBC News. A final ruling on the legality of the bidding process must now be made before any company is allowed to secure the operating rights to the Maracana.
The Maracana last month became the fourth of Brazil’s 2014 World Cup stadiums to open its doors, nearly four months after the December deadline set by world football’s governing body. The Maracana is the lynchpin of Brazil’s staging of the 2014 World Cup, along with the forthcoming Confederations Cup, and has undergone a major redevelopment. Originally built for Brazil’s staging of the 1950 World Cup, the Maracana will host seven games in the 2014 edition of the event, more than any other venue. Organisers have spent nearly US$500 million on the redevelopment project which has seen a new stadium formed within the shell of the original epic facility, with capacity scaled back to 78,000. Reports on Tuesday morning suggested the contract could be reinstated. Check out tomorrow’s Soccerex Business Daily for the latest.