Flamengo wins appeal against paying support to families of youth players killed in academy fire

December 3 – Flamengo will no longer have to pay an allowance of 10,000 Brazilian Reias (€1,578) to the families of the victims of the Ninho de Urubu training complex tragedy, a Rio de Janeiro court ruled. 

In February 2019, a fire engulfed the ramshackle dormitory at the youth team training centre of Flamengo, killing 10 teenage players. Ever since, the club has fought tooth and nail to not accept responsibility for the fire in a dispute that has often had the undertones of a social conflict.

Flamengo settled with seven of the victims’ families, but a court ruled at the end of 2019 that the club had to pay the other remaining families an allowance of €10,000 Brazilian Reais.

The club appealed the ruling and claimed, according to various Brazilian media, a legal victory on Wednesday as the appeal was upheld. Flamengo argued that it was not up to the public prosecutor to defend the families.

“The trial did not meet the best legal technique, nor the doctrine and jurisprudence on the subject,” said Patracia Cardoso, the coordinator of public civil defence. “It is certain that the injured families and athletes could and should be defended by the Public Defender’s Office and the Public Ministry. In addition, there are still other requests, including collective moral damages, for the absurdity, for the tragedy that happened in Ninho do Urubu.”

The remaining families are locked in a legal dispute with the club over compensation, but also over why the fire happened and why there were inadequate safety procedures at the training complex accommodation.

The youth players had been 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. Arthur Vinicius Silva, Áthila Paixao, Bernardo Pisetta, Christian Esmerio, Vítor Isaías, Pablo Henrique, Jorge Eduardo, Samuel Thomas, Gedson Santos and Rykelmo Viana passed away that fateful night. At 16, Viana was the oldest player.

Contact the writer of this story, Samindra Kunti, at moc.l1610875458labto1610875458ofdlr1610875458owedi1610875458sni@o1610875458fni1610875458