KEIR RADNEDGE REPORTS: The iconic Maracana stadium in Rio de Janeiro will not now be renamed after Pele following controversy generated by the original proposal from the state council which owns the venue that staged the World Cup Final in 1950 and 2014.
A law change to adopt the name of Edson Arantes do Nascimento Rei Pelé had been awaiting only formal approval from the interim governor of Rio, Carlos Castro.
However angry criticism from within Rio and beyond – Pele played all his domestic club football for Santos in the state of Sao Paulo – prompted the regional legislature into a U-turn.
Council president André Ceciliano had been among supporters of the name change along with 1994 World Cup-winner turned deputy Bebeto.
The idea was attacked by historians as well as the family of the journalist Mario Filho after whom the stadium was named originally when it was built at his instigation and opened just in time for the 1950 World Cup.
The Rio Ministry of Public Works had recommended vetoing the project on grounds that the name of the stadium was a feature of “Rio’s cultural identity” and that the measure would violate football’s fan heritage.