Bid to rename Rio Olympics 2016 Joao Havelange stadium

 Joao Havelange stadium

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The authorities in Rio de Janeiro are examining a proposal to rename the city's Joao Havelange stadium.

The stadium is currently named after a former head of Fifa, football's world governing body.

But last month Mr Havelange resigned as Fifa's honorary president after a report by the organisation's ethics committee accused him of taking bribes.

The bill proposes the stadium be renamed after Joao Saldanha, a former national football team manager.

The stadium, known locally as Engenhao, will host the 2016 Olympics, but not next year's Brazil football World Cup.

The bill was presented by five Rio de Janeiro councillors, who argue Mr Havelange's alleged involvement in the $100m (£64m) bribery scheme makes him "unworthy" of the distinction.

'Fraud and scandals'

"The name Joao Havelange is today linked to fraud investigations and scandals at Fifa," city councillor Renato Cinco, one of the bill's authors, told reporters.

"It doesn't make sense for a city which is going to host the World Cup and Olympic Games have the name of its stadium with this reference."

Mr Havelange headed Fifa between 1974 and 1998, when he was replaced by the current president, Sepp Blatter.

Stadium history

  • Built for the Pan American Games hosted by Rio in 2007
  • Used for matches in the Campeonato Carioca, the Rio state football championship
  • Hosts Copa Libertadores matches
  • Botafogo play their home games at Engenhao

Mr Havelange and his son-in-law, Ricardo Teixeira, were accused of taking large amounts of money from the collapsed sports marketing company ISL.

In turn they would have secured lucrative marketing rights contracts for the firm, a report by a Swiss prosecutor said.

The renaming act still has to be approved by the local assembly's commissions before being put to vote by the councillors, which could happen in the next six months.

The councillors want the stadium to be named after the well-known sports journalist and one time manager of the 1970s World Cup national team, Joao Saldanha.

Mr Saldanha, who died in 1990, was a passionate supporter of Rio's Botafogo football club, the current lease-holders of the Joao Havelange stadium.

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