Flamengo legend Zico criticised the Brazilian club’s administration for its management of the unlicensed facility where a fire claimed the lives of 10 youth academy players.
According to the city government, Flamengo received 31 fines — 21 of which were not paid — for permit irregularities related to the Ninho do Urubu training ground, reports Xinhua news agency.
The crux of the incident:
Brazil’s capital Rio de Janeiro declared three days of mourning as the investigation continue to determine the cause of the fire that swept into the training center of Flamingo football club, killing 10 teenage footballers in the incident on Friday.
The vice governor of Rio de Janerio revealed that the authorities were looking at the possibility of a short circuit in the air conditioner.
Speaking to Globo TV, Samuel Barbosa, a 16-year-old player who survived the fire said that a lot of smoke had filled the dorm. “Most didn’t make it because there was so much fire.”
The city has issued a statement that the burned area was registered for parking and not as a dormitory and that the investigation process was underway.|
The incident which took place during the early hours in Rio de Janeiro after the blaze hit a building that housed youth-category players aged from 14 to 17, Brazilian outlet Glodo reported.
The fire broke out at about 5.10am local time (7.10am UK time) and took more than two hours to bring under control. None of the victims have been identified yet and the injured were rushed to the hospital nearby.
The Flamengo football club is one of the most popular professional team in South America and has a state of the art training facility.
The Associated Press reported that the victims included goalkeeper Christian, 15, who was a regular in Brazil’s youth teams and reportedly had already attracted the attention of several top European clubs.
Defender Pablo, 14, had been with Flamengo since last year and his cousin, Werley, was already playing professionally with rival Vasco da Gama.
Forward Athila, 14, had joined Flamengo from the same academy where Atlético Madrid striker Costa played as a teenager before thriving internationally.
“Sad news,” Real Madrid forward Vinícius Júnior wrote on his official social media handle as the football world mourned another loss after the aircraft accident of late Argentine striker Emiliano Sala.
“If you’re fined 30 times, you can’t carry on as if nothing is wrong. Something has to be done,” Zico told Brazil’s SporTV on Sunday.
The 65-year-old former Brazil playmaker said the makeshift containers destroyed in the blaze were not suitable to be used as sleeping quarters.
“The youth academy needs planning in all areas so that tragedies like this don’t happen,” said Zico, who is currently the technical director of Kashima Antlers in Japan.
Zico’s comments came as the first funerals for the fire’s victims were held on Sunday.
Flamengo issued a statement early in the day in which it said air conditioners inside the complex were inspected on February 5. On Saturday, club CEO Reinaldo Belotti said the tragedy could have been caused by power surges resulting from wild storms that hit Rio de Janeiro a day earlier.
(With IANS Inputs)