Fla, Flu and Vasco are interested

The Government of the State of Rio de Janeiro launched today (28) the new public notice for the administration of the Maracanã Complex for the next 20 years. The bidding will take place on October 27 and the main points that were already public knowledge were maintained, such as the requirement for a minimum of 70 games per year in the stadium, in addition to 12 more events in Maracanãzinho. However, some terms that generated a rift between the duo Fla-Flu and Vasco – clubs that expressed the desire to manage the stadium – were maintained, which should generate controversy.

Recently, the rivals fought a legal battle where the main issue was whether or not Cruzmaltino was allowed to use Maracanã for the games requested by Serie B. Against Cruzeiro, for example, the Justice understood that the São Januário club had the right to enjoy the stadium even with the refusal of the current consortium, managed by Rubro-Negro and Tricolor. In the new public notice, the terms that, in theory, currently benefit Vasco, were maintained.

In the topic “3.2.5.1” of Annex I of the “Term of Reference”, for example, the notice says:

“The future concessionaire of the Complex is prohibited from favoring one or more associations, clubs, association or sports confederation, through the offer of exclusive use of the Complex, in particular the Jornalista Mário Filho Stadium – Maracanã, as well as the imposition of unjustifiably different or discriminatory commercial treatment, which represents an excessive burden and/or the practice of acts that result in the prohibition of access to the use of the Complex to associations, clubs, association or Confederation“.

In the topic “3.2.5.3”, the document says about the rental rate, another point of complaint from Vasco recently, as there was a big increase this year. The text speaks in “right and determined price” and a value that “should be charged equally to any of the clubs in Rio”:

“The future concessionaire must establish annually, for official football matches, a certain and determined price for the field rental and operating costs of the Mobile Board at the Jornalista Mário Filho Stadium (Maracanã), this amount must be charged equally to any of the football clubs in the State of Rio de Janeiro with an official date in the main football competitions (Brazilian championships series “A” and “B”, Copa do Brasil, Copa Libertadores, Copa Sul Americana, or any other tournament of this nature and scope that may be held during the concession period)”.

The topic “3.2.6” also says that the future concessionaire “shall manage in a non-discriminatory manner in relation to the main clubs in Rio and their respective fans”:

“In view of the vocation of the Maracanã Stadium as a World Temple of Football and the fact that it constitutes a sporting and cultural heritage of all Brazilian society, the future Concessionaire must manage the Complex in a non-discriminatory way in relation to the main clubs in Rio de Janeiro and their respective supporters”.

The public notice also explains that the criterion for choosing the bidding will be the combination of the best technical and financial proposal. In each item, scoring rules were stipulated, where some minimum requirements must be met.

A fixed annual amount (fixed grant) of R$ 5,032,175.00 was established to be paid by the future administrator to the Government for the use of the Complex. The total sum, considering the entire concession period, is R$ 100,643,500.00. The document, however, emphasizes that “the value will be duly corrected annually by the IPCA, calculated and published by the Brazilian Institute of Geography and Statistics – IBGE, or by another that may replace it”.

The contract will be managed by the Secretary of State for the Civil House which, according to the public notice, “will be responsible for the economic-financial rebalancing, a fundamental condition of the legal regime of the contract, of incidents related to payments, of issues related to documentation, to the control of expiry dates, of extension, of the macro monitoring of the execution of the contract; issuance of opinions in all acts of the Administration related to the execution of the contract, applying sanctions, alteration and renegotiation of the contract; and monitoring of the verification of the fulfillment of the obligations and payment of social, labor, social security, tax and commercial charges of the contractor, according to the case”.

Requirement on administrative experience raises doubts

One point that has generated interpretive doubts is in relation to the requirements on administrative experiences in stadiums/arenas and gymnasiums. The notice says:

Companies that have, among others, the following requirements may qualify, individually or in a consortium:

a) Presentation of a certificate of technical capacity in managing the operation and maintenance of a football stadium with a minimum capacity of 30,000 (thirty thousand) seats for at least 3 (three) years;

b) Presentation of a certificate of technical capacity in managing the operation and maintenance of a sports gymnasium with a minimum capacity of 5,000 (five thousand) seats for at least 3 (three) years;

The current capacity of São Januário, Vasco’s stadium, for example, is less than 30 thousand people. Cruzmaltino and the other rivals in Rio de Janeiro, for example, also do not, in theory, have experience of at least three years in gyms with a minimum capacity of five thousand seats.

Allianz Parque cited as an example for events

Although the public notice makes it clear that the main objective of the new consortium is to host football matches at Maracanã, the document separates an excerpt to put Allianz Parque, Palmeiras stadium, as an example for holding concerts and events:

“Data prior to the state of public health calamity generated by Covid19 reveal that Allianz Parque, a private football stadium based in the capital of the State of São Paulo and considered the most successful in promoting large cultural events, promoted an average of 12 ( twelve) shows per year with an audience of over 15,000 (fifteen thousand) people. The expertise for the management and operation of events of this nature will also be required of the participants of this bidding process, seeking to promote and guarantee a qualified and efficient management to the complex, capable of guaranteeing resources not only for concessionaires, but also for the entire production chain involved in businesses of this nature. de Janeiro, which once again reinforces the already highlighted “social interest”says the notice, adding:

“It is worth noting that the Stadium’s annual calendar accommodates a minimum of 70 (seventy) football dates and more than a dozen shows and events of a diverse nature.”

Fla and Flu allies; Vasco waves with the 777

Three clubs have already declared themselves interested in bidding for Maracanã: Flamengo and Fluminense — in a joint consortium more or less along the lines of the current one — and Vasco, with the probable arrival of the SAF.

Regarding the duo Fla-Flu, the idea is to maintain the partnership that takes place in the temporary concession now, with the difference that Tricolor, according to its president Mário Bittencourt, will also become a licensee like Rubro-Negro, since it currently is “consenting intervener”.

Vasco, in turn, understands that it is necessary to have Maracanã as an option for games of greater appeal, especially with the situation that has been faced this season: the “shortening” of São Januário for its audience. The factor has been caused a lot by the large number of members, who have sold out tickets sequentially in matches at the Vasco house.

Initially, the Cruzmaltina board tried to propose an agreement to the Fla-Flu duo to be a third manager, with a smaller participation in the number of games per year, somewhere between 10 to 15 matches. The rivals, however, have not seen with good eyes, especially the Tricolor.

Rubro-Negro, until a few months ago, remotely considered the possibility of a partnership, but recent legal battles over the stadium have soured the relationship. Vasco, in turn, guarantees not to be discouraged if he has to compete alone in the bid, and for that he has the help of 777 Partners, an American company that will probably manage his SAF.

Cruzmaltino’s idea, in case of a solitary fight, is, first of all, to have the financial assistance of the holding company to offer the proposal in the bidding. Next, the strategy is for 777 Partners — which has entertainment businesses as well — to seek out partners specializing in arena management.

There is, however, in Vasco’s board of directors, however small, a hope that they will be able to reach an understanding with their rivals.

Side projects for own stadiums

In parallel to the competition for Maracanã, Flamengo and Vasco have projects for their own stadiums. Rubro-Negro, for example, enables studies to acquire the Gasómetro land, in downtown Rio, which belongs to Caixa Econômica Federal. Cruzmaltino is discussing with 777 Partners the possibility of expanding and modernizing São Januário. In both cases, the steps are preliminary.

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