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Rio’s Maracana Stadium falling into ruin

One of the most famous football stadiums in the world is heading towards ruin because of a row over who is responsible for its upkeep.

Football officials in the Brazilian city of Rio de Janeiro have called for urgent action to prevent further damage to the city’s famous Maracana Stadium after it was broken into, windows smashed and items stolen.

The stadium was a centerpiece of the 2016 Olympic Games but it is now embroiled in a dispute over who should maintain it.

The iconic stadium is owned by Rio de Janeiro’s state government which has been hit hard by Brazil’s deep economic crisis.

Rio’s O Globo newspaper said the Maracana has been abandoned since its last official event in September. Lights are kept turned off at night to save money.

Copper wiring has been stolen from walls and ceilings along with fire extinguishers, hoses, televisions and a bust of Mario Filho, the journalist after whom the stadium is named.

The federation said “the worries over the present and the future of the stadium are only increasing”.

And officials have called on police to take urgent action to prevent “the destruction of the Maracana.”

Pictures published in Rio newspapers showed seats missing and the turf dry, worn and filled with ruts and holes.

The ground, which also hosted the final match of the 1950 World Cup, was used by all of Rio’s big four teams, Botafogo, Flamengo, Fluminense and Vasco da Gama.