Maracana to light up again as bills are settled

Reuters
General view of Maracana Stadium in Rio de Janeiro
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General view of Maracana Stadium in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, January 26, 2017. REUTERS/Ueslei Marceli …

RIO DE JANEIRO (Reuters) - The legendary Maracana stadium is expected to get its electricity switched back on after managers Odebrecht agreed on Friday to pay much of the outstanding bill.

The stadium, which hosted the 2014 World Cup final and the opening and closing ceremonies of the 2016 Olympic Games, was plunged into darkness on Thursday after Light, the Rio de Janeiro electricity company, cut power due to unpaid bills.

Odebrecht, which holds a 95 per cent stake in the consortium that owns the rights to run the arena, owes Light 1.3 million reais ($412,000) and has agreed to pay most of that debt.

The consortium "is going to pay a debt of 1 million reais with Light," Odebrecht said in a statement.

A spokesperson for Light said the power would go back on once the payment was made and that negotiations with Odebrecht were ongoing about when that would happen and about the remaining 300,000 reais.

The total unpaid bill is 3 million reais with Olympic organisers owing 1.7 million reais. Light said Rio had agreed to pay their part and were negotiating details.

The stadium has fallen into disrepair over the last month and parts of the ground were looted, thieves making off with televisions, copper wire and a bust of Mario Filho, the Rio journalist after whom the stadium was named.

Many seats are missing and large parts of the famous turf are either dried up or full of holes.

The stadium is one of the most famous in the world, where famous players like Zico, Garrincha and Romario scored many of their greatest goals.

It hosted the final of the 2014 World Cup when Germany beat Argentina and was host to the final match of the 1950 tournament when Uruguay defeated Brazil 2-1 to lift the trophy.

It has not held a match since Dec. 28 when Zico played his annual charity match there.

(Writing by Andrew Downie, editing by Ed Osmond)

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