Rio de Janeiro mayor flip flops on reopening stadiums

stadiums brazil coronavirus
Maracanã stadium will host the Copa Libertadores final on January 30. Photo: A. Paes/Shutterstock

The Rio de Janeiro municipal administration was poised to allow the return of fans to sporting events as of this morning. However, after enormous backlash on social media — given that 92 percent of the city’s intensive care units are occupied amid a second coronavirus wave — Mayor Eduardo Paes quickly backpedaled.

An ordinance would open venues with over 8,000 seats — allowing a restricted number of fans according to the city’s stage of the pandemic, which is updated every Friday. In weeks when the pandemic is in the “moderate” phase, stadiums would be allowed one-fifth of their total attendance; this would fall to one-tenth, in weeks of “high” infection rates.

Moments after the news broke, newly-inaugurated Mayor Eduardo Paes published his U-turn on Twitter: “The decision […] is technically correct. However, it is obviously nearly impossible to be enforced. The ordinance will be revoked.”

On January 30, Rio de Janeiro’s Maracanã stadium hosts the final of the Copa Libertadores, South America’s leading continental club football competition. The match will be decided between São Paulo-based club Palmeiras and the winner of fellow Brazilians Santos and Argentina’s Boca Juniors.

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