Maracana stadium privatisation suspended

Rio de Janeiro, May 11 (IANS) A Brazilian judge has suspended the privatisation of Rio’s Maracana stadium pending an investigation into alleged irregularities in the bidding process.

Judge Gisela Guida said Friday the concession contract could only be signed after the conclusion of a probe by Brazil’s public prosecutors’ office, reports Xinhua.

The court injunction came a day after Consortium Maracana SA – backed by billionaire magnate Eike Batista – won a 35-year deal to operate the iconic venue with a bid of 5.5 million Brazilian reais ($2.75 million).

The stadium, which was built for the 1950 World Cup, will host next year’s World Cup final and the opening and closing ceremonies of the 2016 Olympic Games.

Consortium Maracana SA, which comprises Batista’s event marketing firm IMX, builder Odebrecht and Los Angeles-based entertainment company AEG, defeated a group comprising Brazilian constructor OAS, French company Lagardere and Stadion Amsterdam.

According to court documents filed by prosecutors, Consortium Maracana was given an advantage in the tender after IMX had been chosen to provide a viability study for the concession.

The stadium, which has been redeveloped at a cost of $500 million, will be officially reopened June 2 for an international friendly between Brazil and England.

It will also stage three matches, including the final, of next month’s Confederations Cup, considered a prelude to the World Cup.

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