From being a football stadium to processing centre for prisoners.
The $280 million football stadium which is purposely built for the World Cup in Brazil next year is being proposed to be converted into a processing centre for prisoners.
This, after Sabino Marques, a local judge and president of Surveillance and Control of the Amazonian Penitentiary Service sees the Arena Amazonas as a temporary processing centre for prisoners to avoid and control overpopulation of Brazilian jails. Manaus, the host city, has a population of 2.5 million people.
“I can’t see a better site, albeit it on a temporary basis, for housing the detainees in Manaus,” said Marques as reported by AFF.
Marques also feared the stadium will become “white elephant” after the June 12-July 13 event next year.
“Until the state can solve the problem by building new prisons then these two empty spaces should be used,” Marques added.
The 44,000-seat stadium, which will be the venue of the 2014 World Cup, has been criticized for its hefty price tag, considering the city’s little football tradition. They have no team in Brazil’s first or second division football league. Other new stadiums also received criticisms such as the Brasilia, Cuiaba (southwest) and Natal (northeast).
According to reports, Brazil spends an estimated $3.5 billion on stadiums alone. The country also needs a total of $13.3 billion fund for related infrastructure to prepare for next year’s biggest football event and the World Cup is expected to produce $16 billion.
During the recent Confederations Cup, millions protested on the street, accusing the billions spent on the event when the country and its people suffer from poor public services and high taxes.
Brazil’s Sports Minister Aldo Rebelo defended the claim and said that the stadium was built “to host not just football matches but also events and act as commercial spaces” in general.
Brazil is not the first country to think of converting a sports stadium for the benefit of the prisoners. Forty years ago, Chile’s military group led by General Augusto Pinochet herded thousands of political opponents into the national stadium in Santiago, where many were tortured. However, on a positive note, Chile was able to see action during Chile’s 1962 World Cup.
Brazil currently holds five World Cup titles. The Amazonia Arena is set to host four World Cup Games. All matches will be held in 12 Brazilian cities between June 12 and July 13 of 2014.
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