Fa­tal fire at Fla­mengo ex­poses poor con­di­tion of young play­ers

Hindustan Times ST (Mumbai) - - WORLD - Reuters

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.

AP

A friend grieves over the cof­fin con­tain­ing the re­mains of the young foot­baller Arthur Vini­cius who lost his life in the deadly fire.

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