Latin America & Caribbean

Concerns for Brazil's Maracana stadium after looting

Fireworks explode above the Maracana stadium during the rehearsal of the opening ceremony of the Olympic Games on August 03, 2016 in Rio de Janeiro Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption The Maracana stadium has a capacity of around 78,000

Football officials in the Brazilian city of Rio de Janeiro have called for urgent action to prevent further damage to the city's famous Maracana stadium after it was broken into.

The city's football federation said windows were smashed and items stolen.

The stadium, used in the recent Olympics, is at the centre of a dispute over who should maintain it.

It is owned by Rio de Janeiro's state government which has been hit hard by Brazil's deep economic crisis.

The stadium underwent costly modernisations for the 2014 World Cup and the 2016 Olympic Games but has lain empty as clubs and authorities argue over who should manage it.

The federation said "the worries over the present and the future of the stadium are only increasing".

The stadium had been abandoned and ransacked since its last official event in September, Rio's O Globo newspaper said.

It reported that stadium lights were off at night to save costs, and the field was in a bad condition with dry turf full of holes.

Copper wiring has been stolen from walls and ceilings along with fire extinguishers, hoses, televisions and a bust of Mario Filho, the journalist after whom the stadium is named.

The federation has called a meeting with the city's clubs to talk about managing the stadium.

The Maracana hosted the opening and closing ceremony of the Rio Olympics, as well as the final of the 1950 World Cup.

It has been used by all of Rio's big four teams, Botafogo, Flamengo, Fluminense and Vasco da Gama.

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