Maracanã Stadium not to be named after Pelé



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Maracana will not be renamed after Pele Image: MJR Group Ltd./Coliseum

The historic Maracanã Stadium in Rio de Janeiro (Brazil) will not be renamed after soccer giant Pelé.

‘AP’ stated that the Rio de Janeiro Governor Claudio Castro recently vetoed a divisive proposal passed by the State legislature to honor the three-time World Cup winner by calling it the ‘King Pelé Stadium’.

Pelé is a Brazilian former professional footballer who played as a forward. Regarded as one of the greatest players of all time and labeled “the greatest” by FIFA, he was among the most successful and popular sports figures of the 20th century. Edson Arantes do Nascimento, better known as Pelé, debuted for the Brazilian national football (soccer) team in 1957 at age 16. He scored a hat trick in the 1958 World Cup semifinal against France and two goals in the victory over Sweden in the championship game.

The 78,838-capacity Maracanã Stadium, officially named Estádio Jornalista Mário Filho, is an association football stadium in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. The stadium is part of a complex that includes an arena known by the name of Maracanãzinho, which means ‘The Little Maracanã’ in Portuguese.

The stadium, which hosted the 2014 World Cup final and opening ceremony of the 2016 Olympics, will keep its official name of Estadio Jornalista Mario Filho, after the Brazilian sportswriter credited with the idea to build the stadium for the 1950 World Cup.

However, it is widely just called the Maracanã, after the Rio neighborhood where it is housed.

The veto comes after the proposal to name the venue after Pelé came in for a lot of flak and Castro said even the lawmaker behind the bill, André Ceciliano, had asked him to scrap the idea.

‘AP’ further stated that Filho had used his newspaper Jornal dos Sports to coordinate a campaign to convince Rio’s citizens that the stadium had to be constructed closer to the City Center instead of an original plan to build it in a neighborhood far away. His relatives had campaigned against the decision to name the facility after Pelé.

The State-owned Maracanã Stadium serves as the residence of Brazilian sports clubs Flamengo and Fluminense.

The 80-year-old Pelé has not commented on the issue since the Bill passed Rio’s State legislature.

The Fluminense Football Club, known simply as Fluminense, is a Brazilian sports club best known for its professional football team that competes in the Campeonato Brasileiro Série A, the first tier of Brazilian football and the Campeonato Carioca, the State league of Rio de Janeiro.

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