Brazil league ban on clubs playing out of state hits World Cup stadia legacy

Mane Garrincha

By Samindra Kunti

March 1 – The Brazilian FA (CBF) has prohibited domestic clubs from playing top flight and division one games outside their state of origin. The ruling will have a dramatic impact on the struggling World Cup stadiums in Manuas, Natal, Cuiaba and Brasilia that have been battling to maintain operations. 

The decision was taken in agreement with 14 clubs, the majority, of the Brazilian Serie A. The four stadiums have hosted 47 games of the Brazilian championship to date, with an approximate (and life-preserving) revenue of £1.58 million.

The Mané Garrincha stadium (pictured) in the capital will be hit hardest, having hosted 31 games. The venue was the most expensive of all World Cup stadiums and has struggled to attract sizable crowds with the local clubs offering little traction.

“It’s a very bad decision,” said Brasilia’s secretary of sport, tourism and leisure Jaime Recena, whose department is responsible for the maintenance of the Mané Garrincha stadium.

“And, in my opinion, wrong. It mainly hurts the fan. It does not only affect states that will no longer be able to receive games. But it hurts the supporters of that state, whose right to see their club in their home has been curtailed. Flamengo were to play some games of the Brazilian Championship in Brasilia. With the decision, we will have to renegotiate everything.”

“We lose a chance, which is the Brazilian Championship,” concluded Recena. “But there are still other championships that have not yet been banned, such as the Brazilian Cup, the Libertadores, the Copa Sudamericana, the Primera Liga or even the state championships.”

The Arena das Dunas in Natal will experience a limited impact from the banning order. The stadium, which has hosted just two top flight games, is privately operated, maintained by OAS Egenharia. They have focused on staging music shows and other cultural events.But the decision will still be a severe setback for the stadium’s possible commercial ventures.

Once the 2014 World Cup drew to a close and FIFA had packed their bags, Manuas, Natal, Cuiaba and Brasilia were always in danger of becoming white elephants, due to their remote locations and lack of marquee clubs. The CBF’s decision hasn’t helped.

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