Plans to rename Maracana Stadium after Pele are SCRAPPED

Pele et al.  posing for the camera: MailOnline logo

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Rio de Janeiro scrapped plans to rename its famous Maracana stadium as a tribute to Pelé on Thursday after widespread fan outcry.

The official proposal to give Pelé’s name to the field that hosted the 2014 World Cup final and the 2016 Olympic Games opening ceremony was opposed by State Governor Claudio Castro.

The Rio de Janeiro state legislature voted last month to call it the ‘King Pelé Stadium’, but fans were angry at the removal of the stadium’s current official name, Mario Filho, after the journalist who lobbied for it to be built in the 1940s.

Most Brazilians call the stadium simply the Maracana, after the neighborhood in which it is located.

Many critics of the name change also found it inappropriate to rename Rio’s iconic landmark after a player who has never lived in the state.

Castro vetoed the change after the state legislator that made the proposal withdrew its support due to the outcry.

a group of baseball players playing a football game

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a group of people playing football on a pitch: Maracana Stadium hosted the 2014 World Cup final which saw Germany beat Argentina

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Maracana Stadium hosted the 2014 World Cup final which saw Germany beat Argentina

Among those lining up against the draft were Gerson, Pelé’s teammate in the 1970 World Cup winning squad, and Mario Filho’s grandson. Gerson called this idea “absurd”.

Pelé, who turned 80 last year, played at the stadium several times for Brazil and scored his 1,000th goal there in 1969, for Santos against local club Vasco da Gama, but he was born in the state of Minas Gerais and has lived most of his life in Sao Paulo State.

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