Fatal fire at Flamengo exposes poor condition of young players
SAO PAULO: The deaths of 10 teenagers in a fire at Brazil’s Flamengo soccer club highlighted the precarious conditions many youngsters face as they chase the dream of becoming professional footballers.
The boys, all aged between 14 and 16, were killed when a fire swept through the Flamengo training centre on the outskirts of Rio de Janeiro early on Friday morning. Three others were injured, one seriously.
Although Brazilian clubs are famous for producing some of the world’s greatest players, they have been criticised for the lack of care and security they provide their young charges.
Authorities have cited clubs in recent years for poor hygiene, inadequate nutrition and a lack of education and social care for youth players.
“At one club I was at we had to wait for the pros to eat and we got what was left and if there was nothing then it was tough luck,” Romario Reginaldo Alves, a 24-year-old forward who spent time at the same Flamengo training ground that burnt to the ground, said the news agency.
“The facilities are not always clean, the toilets are filthy,” he added of other clubs he was at. “We know that it’s not like being at home but they can definitely do things better.”
The boys who died were youth players staying at a training centre called the Ninho do Urubu or Vulture’s Nest after the club’s symbolic bird.
ENERGY SPIKE CAUSED FIRE, SAYS CLUB CEO
Flamengo’s CEO Reinaldo Belotti said that the deadly fire was caused by a spike of electricity. The fire started in the early hours of Friday, a day after a devastating storm hit Rio and killed at least six people. Belotti added the adverse weather conditions caused energy spikes that could have caused the fire. “It was succession of events after a catastrophic day that led to even greater catastrophe,” he said.
A friend grieves over the coffin containing the remains of the young footballer Arthur Vinicius who lost his life in the deadly fire.