Fla­mengo fire ex­poses poor con­di­tions for young Brazil foot­ballers

The Times of India (New Delhi edition) - - TIMES SPORT -

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 fa- mous 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

GRIEF-STRICKEN: Alves, a 24-year old for­ward who spent time at the same Fla­mengo train­ing ground that burnt to the ground, said.

“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 clubs and the di­rec­tors that are re­spon­si­ble need to un­der­stand that giv­ing kids de­cent treat­ment isn’t spoil­ing them.”

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. In re­cent years teenagers such as Vini­cius Jr. and Lu­cas Pa­queta, who last month made his de­but for AC Mi­lan, had spells at the same train­ing cen­tre.

But the area de­stroyed by the blaze was not sup­posed to house play­ers, the Rio de Janeiro mayor’s of­fice said on Fri­day.

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