Rio prosecutor tells Flamengo to increase compensation to families over fire deaths

February 17 – Rio de Janeiro’s public prosecutor and the state’s public ministry have demanded greater compensation from Flamengo for the families of the ten youth players who perished in a fire at the club’s training complex last year. The fire will no longer be treated as a ‘collective accident’.

A year after the fatal fire at the Ninho do Urubu, Flamengo and the majority of the families of the victims remain entangled in a legal battle over compensation, but late last week local authorities modified the nature of the lawsuit against the club, renouncing the term “collective accident” and requiring the club to be held accountable “in view of the existence of elements that evidence the defendant’s serious and conscious fault and is “essential to deconstruct the discourse repeated by the club’s directors that the club would responsible for just the guardian status of the young teenagers, without blame for the fire”.

They demand collective moral damages of R$ 20 million ($4.65 million) and individual moral damages of R$1 million ($232,641) for each father and mother.

“Once the circumstances and consequences of the fire were characterised, the institutions understand that it is evident that the level of indemnities is higher than the original proposal of Flamengo,” said the public prosecutor and the public ministry.

They also want to confirm a previous decision, currently in force, but not yet definitive, condemning the club to pay a monthly pension of at least R $10,000 ($2,327) per month, incurring monetary correction, default interest and other legal charges.

“The amount must be fixed in a reasonable and proportional manner based on the average gain practiced in professional football contracts signed by the club, or by a similar method of calculation,” argued the public prosecutor and the public ministry.

The youth players were housed in a row of six conjoined steel modular units, sharing a single exit, one of the many grave shortcomings of the makeshift dormitory, along with the absence of a caretaker, a federal requirement, and the grated windows.

Ever since, Flamengo has provided few explanations for the fire, and has fought to pay as little compensation as possible to the families of the victims. Flamengo proposed a compensation of 300,000 reais [$71,853] for each family and a ten-year minimum salary.

So far, the club has an agreement with four relatives, but seven families have refused Flamengo’s conditions. The club believes that Rio de Janeiro’s public prosecutor and the state’s public ministry do not represent the families.

A fortnight ago, a parliamentary committee of inquiry got underway in Rio de Janeiro. Former Flamengo president Eduardo Bandeira de Mello was the only club representative, alongside CEO Reinaldo Belotti, testified. Flamengo president Landim, vice president Rodrigo Dunshee and former vice president Alexandre Wrobel refused to appear.

Last week Dunshee did appear, representing his president. He acknowledged that Flamengo lacked a human perspective in the matter.

Contact the writer of this story, Samindra Kunti, at moc.l1585574919labto1585574919ofdlr1585574919owedi1585574919sni@t1585574919catno1585574919c1585574919