Last Wednesday (30), the Rio de Janeiro Court decided to keep Vasco da Gama’s São Januário Stadium closed to the public. The ban has been questioned by fans of several Rio clubs on social media. Furthermore, the decision was called “racist and elitist” by favela movements.
This is because, on match days, the movement of fans around the stadium is a source of income for residents of three communities in the North zone of Rio de Janeiro. A city hall study calculated that the ban led to a 60% drop in the income of traders who depend on gaming. São Januário has not opened its gates to the public for around 70 days.
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“The absence of fans has led to a decline in revenue and income generation in the communities of Barreira do Vasco, Tuiuti and Arará, a region already impacted by historic job losses due to the withdrawal of industries and transformations in the world of work”, describe.
The Carioca Labor Observatory, from the Municipal Department of Labor and Income, found that 92.8% of people looking for work in the region have a family income of up to 2 minimum wages, which emphasizes economic vulnerability.
The secretariat states that approximately 250 accredited self-employed sellers work inside the stadium, serving the bleachers and social areas. In addition to approximately another 300 informal workers who work in the external area. According to interviewees, on game days, independent salespeople generate up to R$8,000 in revenue.
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“During game week, visiting the stadium to purchase and exchange tickets, as well as general visitation, increases local commerce. Furthermore, the sale of sporting goods such as shirts and flags also experiences a substantial increase whenever there is the holding of games. This dynamic illustrates the interconnection between sporting activities and the promotion of the local economy and is reported by all interviewees”, says the study.
The court closed the São Januário Stadium after a disturbance among fans during the game in which the Rio team was defeated 1-0 by Goiás, in the 11th round of the Brasileirão, on June 22nd. The stadium is allowed to host games without fans.
At the time, the opinion of the judge on duty, Marcelo Rubioli, from the Special Court for Fans and Major Events, caused outrage by associating the location of the stadium, in the favela, with violence and drug trafficking.
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“To contextualize the total lack of operating conditions at the site, starting from the external to the internal area, it can be seen that the entire complex is surrounded by the community of Barreira do Vasco, from where there were commonly gunshots from drug trafficking. of drugs installed there, which creates an atmosphere of insecurity when arriving and leaving the stadium. There are narrow streets, with no escape area, which are always full of fans getting drunk before entering the stadium”, wrote the judge.
Several fans, favela movements and community leaders expressed repudiation of the judge’s words against São Januário and the surrounding favelas. However, the Court of Justice of Rio de Janeiro (TJ-RJ) maintained, by two votes to one, the public ban in São Januário last Wednesday (30).
Vasco da Gama highlighted that the decision is “selective and discriminatory” in a manifesto released this Thursday (31) on social media. The Rio team stated that they will appeal the decision to the Superior Court of Justice (STJ), in Brasília.
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“This ban, based on allegations riddled with prejudice, which point to the location in a popular area, violence and access difficulties as justifications, is selective and discriminatory. In this context, it is ignored that other Serie A club stadiums remain open, despite having faced recent and more serious security problems, including in Rio de Janeiro”, says the text.
Source: BdF Rio de Janeiro
Editing: Clívia Mesquita