Brazil row over topless fan ban in Maracana stadium

 
Brazil fans in Rio's Maracana stadium A ban on standing while watching matches is one of the changes proposed

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Controversial new plans which include a ban of shirtless and standing fans at Rio de Janeiro's Maracana stadium are causing outcry in Brazil.

Percussion instruments and flag poles traditionally used by organised fan groups could also be banned, says the stadium's new administration.

Critics are calling the plans "colonisation" and "gentrification" measures after the $450m modernisation.

Maracana has been renewed to host the final match of next year's World Cup.

The plans were announced by the president of the stadium's consortium, Joao Borba.

"We will talk to the clubs aiming a change of habits. I'm referring to bamboos [used as flag poles], bass drums, watching the matches standing. We do not even have room for the bamboos," Mr Borba told Rio's newspaper Extra.

'War against people'

The changes are meant to safeguard the comfort, security and accessibility of the fans, he explained.

Brazil fans celebrates at Rio's Maracana Brazil fans celebrates at Rio's Maracana

But in a city where walking around wearing only shorts and flipflops is as common a men's outfit as suit and tie, many do not believe the changes can be implemented.

Fans used blogs and social media to vent their anger at the plan.

"In the new Maracana, icon of a football undergoing transformation, a war has been declared against people," blogger David Butter wrote under the title "The colonisation of Maracana".

Hours after the announcement, users on Twitter were largely critical of the plans.

Another blogger saw an attempt of gentrifying football behind the proposals.

"So, away from the people, with expensive tickets and surroundings that handpick the attendance, they decreed [new rules]," wrote Rica Perroni.

Maracana is expected to become once again the home ground of Rio de Janeiro's main football teams.

But so far, only current Brazilian league champions Fluminense have signed a 35-year contract with the consortium.

Botafogo, Vasco da Gama and Flamengo are expected to share it.

 

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  • rate this
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    Comment number 97.

    Maybe this has to do with 'stuffed shirts'.

  • rate this
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    Comment number 96.

    SORRY FOR CAPS: BAD EYES. SHOULDN'T THE CAPTION ON PHOTO BE "FANS CELEBRATE", RATHER THAN "FANS CELEBRATES"? SHOULD MY QUESTION MARK BE INSIDE OR OUTSIDE QUOTES?

    YOU WORK HARD, AND HAVE LITTLE TIME. I HAVE NEITHER EXCUSE. YET BBC ENGLISH SHOULD HAVE THE HIGHEST STANDARD IN GRAMMAR, AS IN QUALITY OF REPORTING.

  • rate this
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    Comment number 95.

    Whew! In light of some other recent football news from that part of the world, I at first thought this had something to do with decapitaions.

  • rate this
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    Comment number 94.

    what's next? obligatory hats? or maybe burqas?

  • rate this
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    Comment number 93.

    A sporting event is not a concert of classical music. That said I do have an objection to fans standing in front of me throughout a game blocking my view. Many older people and people with physical disabilities can not stand for 90 minutes nor is there any reason why they should. Rudeness even at a sports stadium is inexcusable behavior. This is why I never go to such events I expect vulgarity.

  • rate this
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    Comment number 92.

    Most of those who want to go topless have huge beer guts and hairy armpits, and are male!

  • rate this
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    Comment number 91.

    cont'd from 87.....as they don't want to have to pay more money for repairs before the WC even starts. And there are plenty of other public contexts here (eg: banks, buses) where people won't be admitted if they are not 'decently' attired.
    That said, Brazilian fans are noted for their joyous celebration of the game and I hope a reasonable balance can be achieved that protects all interests.

  • rate this
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    Comment number 90.

    Welcome to corporate sports, Brazil. I live in an area with three major league teams, but the "farm" or practice teams are where it's at. You can see the players sweat and feel the air move when they passionately rush down the field or the court, and have a reasonably priced hot dog. On special days, they bring out school team members to honor them. And you can actually see who they are.

  • rate this
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    Comment number 89.

    And this concerns us because.........

  • rate this
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    Comment number 88.

    They should ban people wearing suits from the stadium, sporting events should be casual, fun events. If the corporate types had their way the fans would be required to sit quietly in their seat until the "applause" light came on as the camera panned the crowd--who would want to attend an event like that?

  • rate this
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    Comment number 87.

    What I see here is a kneejerk reaction based on heresay. I think the first thing we need to know is what the precise proposals are, before we can comment on them.
    What I can say is that this is occurring within a context of increasing violence among club supporters. And having shelled out a fortune to have the entire stadium revamped, I can understand a reluctance to see it ripped apart by 'fans'.

  • rate this
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    Comment number 86.

    The frustration of fans isn't simply based off these rules changes, though. They've been losing their involvement as fans for a long time now due to high ticket prices and confusingly wasteful expenditure. Contextually, it's just another thing to fuel the anger Brazilian people are feeling in the face of being used and abused by their institutions.

  • rate this
    +1

    Comment number 85.

    Do I remember that recently, a referee stabbed a player and then was decapitated by an angry mob in Brazil? Is this support or is this an excuse for mob mentality? Would you take your family to an event where this could happen? In the UK, I remember the term "hooliganism" being a buzz word for years. What is wrong with civility? Nothing!

  • rate this
    +1

    Comment number 84.

    In the US, with high definition television, no traffic, no annoying drunks sitting next to you, the at home experience is becoming more of a threat to stadium ticket sales. You are seeing a real response in the U.S. to be fan friendly at stadiums, but only because there is a real threat to attendance. The gameday experience doesn't become fan focused until fans start staying away, sadly.

  • rate this
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    Comment number 83.

    Nanny state hits Brazil. People need to express emotion as a form of stress relief. Football has been the vehicle of which many use as an outlet. Sure there have been problems, but the overall benefit to society outweighs the drawbacks. Neutering peoples display of emotion is an attempt to herd the masses into an artificial tranquility of pent up emotion just waiting to explode elsewhere.

  • rate this
    +4

    Comment number 82.

    Before non-Brazilians comment, they should know that these measures are part of a number that are trying to kill a very unique & Brazilian way of watching football. The thrilling, noisy atmosphere that used to be synonymous with Brazilian football is being diluted. It started with the pricing out of the vast majority of supporters & now it is banning the proletariat shirtless fans. Disgraceful.

  • rate this
    +1

    Comment number 81.

    Its easy - make all stadiums air conditioned - its only money after all. The people don't need cheap transport, housing, sanitation they just need the correctly branded shirt.

  • Comment number 80.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • rate this
    +1

    Comment number 79.

    whats the big deal when most Brazilians are walking around in their cities shirtless? Football is their national sport and thats how they express themselves and is sad when a bunch of politicians are trying to show their authority through banning them from theit favorite pastime

  • rate this
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    Comment number 78.

    These comments obviously from people who have never been to Maracana. Last time I was there for a local derby the stadium was already all seating. The solution, stand on the seats or the arms of the seats. If you want to see the game you also stand on the seats. I was in the Flamengo end and when they scored every one who could reach you gave you a hug. A great experience. Flamengo beat Vasco 2-0.

 

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