Football officials in Rio de Janeiro have called on police to take urgent action to stop what they called “the destruction of the Maracana” Stadium after valuables were looted from the famous Old Stadium.
Fire extinguishers, hoses, televisions and even a bronze bust of Mario Filho, the journalist after whom the stadium was named, were among the items stolen according to the Rio de Janeiro Football Federation.
The stadium, which underwent costly modernization for the 2014 World Cup and the opening and closing ceremonies of the 2016 Olympic Games, has been unused since late last year with no-one taking responsibility for its upkeep.
Pictures published in Rio newspapers showed seats missing and the turf dry, worn and filled with ruts and holes.
The windows inside the stadium were smashed, doors will not shut properly, and copper wiring has been stolen from walls and ceilings.
The Federation has arranged to meet with the city’s clubs on January 17 to discuss what to do about managing the stadium, but its president said more urgent action is required or that meeting will be too late.