Flamengo fire exposes poor conditions for young Brazil footballers
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.