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Rio de Janeiro Mayor Eduardo Paes "has vowed to punish those responsible for structural defects in the showpiece venue for the 2016 Rio Games," according to XINHUA. The Joao Havelange stadium "was shut in March after an appraisal by an independent engineering firm showed the venue's roof could collapse due to structural problems." Paes said construction of the venue had been "rushed at the last minute." Paes: "I did not build this stadium but I do not want to shy away from my responsibility as mayor. Things were done in the nick of time. We will establish who is responsible, and the culprit will not go unpunished." Paes said that "the German company that conducted the stadium's appraisal, Schlaich, Bergermann und Partner (SBP), was due to submit a report with structural solutions within 30 days." But he admitted it could take longer (XINHUA, 5/10).
ITALY TO TRAIN AT JOAO HAVELANGE: BLOOMBERG's Tariq Panja reported the stadium will be used as a training venue for football's Confederations Cup this summer. Italy, Tahiti and "one of the finalists of the World Cup warmup event are slated to train at the arena." A spokesperson for the mayor's office said, “The stadium is opening only for training. There will be no access to the public for viewing and no actual matches will be played there” (BLOOMBERG, 5/10).
A Brazil court on Friday "temporarily suspended a contract won Thursday by Consortium Maracanã SA" to operate Rio de Janeiro's Maracanã stadium, according to Jeffrey T. Lewis of the WALL STREET JOURNAL. The court injunction came one day after the consortium -- backed by Anschutz Entertainment Group, Brazilian construction group Odebrecht and sports and entertainment company IMX -- won a 35-year deal to run the stadium. Judge Gisele Guida de Faria "suspended the contract," pending a final court decision, at the request of the Rio state prosecutor's office because of indications of "the presence of illegalities that contaminated" the bidding process, according to the order published on the website of the Rio de Janeiro state judiciar (WSJ, 5/10). XINHUA reported Consortium Maracanã defeated a group "comprising Brazilian constructor OAS, French company Lagardere and Stadion Amsterdam." According to court documents filed by prosecutors, Consortium Maracanã "was given an advantage in the tender after IMX had been chosen to provide a viability study for the concession" (XINHUA, 5/11). BLOOMBERG's Panja & Spinetto reported the consortium agreed to pay 5.5M reais ($2.7M) annually for the concession, or 192.5M reais ($95.1M) in total. Odebrecht holds a 90% stake in the venture, with IMX and AEG controlling 5% each. The group said that "it planned to invest" 594M reais ($293M) on the complex (BLOOMBERG, 5/10).
Bundesliga Werder Bremen board member Marco Bode "has taken on a taboo topic at the club and not categorically excluded the sale of naming rights for the Weserstadion," according to the DPA. The former German national team and Werder Bremen player said, "I could imagine it. However, it certainly would have a high price tag." Werder is one of the few German top clubs that "has held on to its stadium's historic name." Therefore, the club "is missing out on millions in possible income." Other clubs such as north German rival Hamburg SV "has changed its stadium naming-rights partner multiple times over the past several years" (DPA, 5/8).
Pro12 rugby side Cardiff Blues "are hopeful of having an artificial pitch in place" for the start of the '13-14 season, according to the BBC. Blues CEO Richard Holland confirmed that "the region are seeking permission from the Welsh Rugby Union to replace the Cardiff Arms Park turf." The poor quality of the Blues' pitch "has drawn criticism since the region's return to the stadium" in '12. The Blues "took part in the first professional rugby match to be played on Saracens' artificial pitch at Allianz Park in January this year, and the region's management were impressed with the surface." Holland said that "the region had spoken to suppliers about the installation of a plastic pitch" at a cost of around £400,000 ($614,000) (BBC, 5/12).