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SBD Global/July 1, 2013/International Football

Brazil Protesters Target Billionaire Batista's Stadium Lease During Confed Cup Final

Protesters who have paralyzed Brazil's cities for the past three weeks were "joined by a group taking aim at billionaire Eike Batista" as they tried to upstage Sunday's Confederations Cup final, according to Biller & Panja of BLOOMBERG. Batista "holds a minority stake in the consortium that was awarded last month a 35-year contract to operate Rio de Janeiro's Maracana stadium," site of Sunday's final match between Brazil and world champion Spain. Authorities in Rio beefed up security outside the stadium for Sunday's game "in anticipation of a march that at least 18,000 people signed up to attend on Facebook." Among their demands: "revoking the lease of Maracana, which they argue is illegal and doesn’t benefit taxpayers." Popular Committee for the World Cup and Olympics leader Renato Consentino said, "The game was rigged from the start, and we knew who was going to win." A consortium led by Odebrecht SA, Brazil’s largest builder, offered to pay 5.5M reais ($2.4M) annually to Rio’s state government to manage the near 79,000-seat Maracana, "which reopened this month" after a three-year, $500M renovation (BLOOMBERG, 6/28).

PEACEFUL DEMONSTRATION: REUTERS' Pedro Fonseca reported Sunday's final featured "scattered demonstrations proceeded amid an otherwise festive feel." A deployment of about 10,000 police and other security forces "was largely idle before game time" (REUTERS, 6/30).

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