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Brazilian football club Atlético Mineiro is in conflict with South American football governing body CONMEBOL regarding the stadium where the club's Copa Libertadores final against Paraguayan side Olimpia will be played on July 24, according to EMOL. CONMEBOL is demanding the game be played in a stadium with a minimum capacity of 40,000, "and this is why it is not allowing Mineiro to play the game on its home field of Independencia de Belo Horizonte stadium." Independencia's capacity is 26,000. Mineiro President Alexandre Kalil called the decision "wicked" and warned that if the location is not changed, Brazilian clubs "will not participate in future editions of the continental tournament." Kalil's main argument is that "the stadium capacity regulation is regularly violated by CONMEBOL itself." The Brazilian Football Confederation (CBF) sided with Mineiro in a statement released Saturday. CBF President José Maria Marin said, "The CBF does not want to make controversy with CONMEBOL, an affiliate entity with which it maintains a strong relationship, but the CBF does want to fight for a demand that it considers legitimate" (EMOL, 7/15).
Brazilian football fans "could be banned from standing up, taking their shirts off, waving flags and playing musical instruments" at Rio de Janeiro's Maracanã stadium, according to Brian Homewood of REUTERS. The move "is likely to cause an outcry in Brazil and confirm the fears of supporters worried about the gentrification of the country's stadiums following their modernisation for next year's World Cup." Maracanã Consortium President Joao Borba said, "We are going to talk to the clubs about a change of habit" (REUTERS, 7/11). INSIDE WORLD FOOTBALL's Andrew Warshaw reported the plans are part of the stadium's $450M "modernisation programme," and are designed to "cut down on violence and safeguard the comfort, security and accessibility of supporters." In a city where "clothing informality is part of the culture," critics have been quick to respond, with supporters "using social media to vent their anger at recommendations which threaten long-standing traditions" (INSIDE WORLD FOOTBALL, 7/15). The BBC reported fans "used blogs and social media to vent their anger at the plan." Blogger David Butter wrote under the title "The colonisation of Maracana," "In the new Maracana, icon of a football undergoing transformation, a war has been declared against people." Hours after the announcement, users on Twitter "were largely critical of the plans" (BBC, 7/11).