Rio mourns as Flamengo training ground fire kills 10 academy players

February 11 – Rio de Janeiro has declared three days of mourning as investigators seek to determine the cause of the fire that ripped through a dormitory and killed 10 promising teenage footballers at the training ground of leading club Flamengo on Friday.

“This is without a doubt the worst tragedy in this club’s 123-year history,” said club president Rodolfo Landim. “The most important thing now is for us to try to minimise the pain and suffering of these families.”

The players are said to have been aged between 14 and 16 and the club’s weekend clash against arch-rivals Fluminense was postponed as a mark of respect

Rio’s mayor, Marcelo Crivella, ordered three days of mourning, while Brazil’s president, Jair Bolsonaro, lamented the fire had taken “the young lives at the beginning of pursuing their professional dreams”.

But amid the outpouring of grief the club has come under mounting criticism over licensing issues with the area burned registered for parking, not as a dormitory, according to city officials.

Flamengo, arguably Brazil’s most famous club, has apparently been fined 30 times because of infractions at the training ground, which had to be closed in October 2017.

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