Rio de Janeiro is many people's idea of paradise. This city is beautiful. But there's trouble in paradise. Rio has become the epicentre for Brazil's chronic problems with government shortfalls in spending, and the crime and unemployment that come with it. Now it is even affecting football.
Rio has run out of money. The problems, long in the making, because the state is heavily dependent on oil, whose price has fallen. But last year's Olympics made it far worse.
The city declared a state of financial emergency before the games even started, and has had difficulty paying its workers ever since. Civil servants have gone to that money. Teachers have been striking. Unemployment nationally, is over 13%, but Rio's appears to be higher. And with Brazil's national government trying to freeze state spending for the next 20 years, Rio's problems are now the toughest in the nation.
This is the great Maracana Stadium, venue for two World Cup finals and last year's opening and closing ceremonies of the Olympics. Now today there is the Darby game between Flamengo and Fluminense, the two clubs that share the Maracana. But it's not being held here. It's being held in a stadium eight hours drive out of Rio.
And the reason for that is that the Maracana is not fit for use. Contractors massively overbuilt for the work of improving the Maracana for the World Cup. Then after the Olympics, there has been a dispute over who should pay for maintenance between the Rio games and Maracana SA, the consortium led by the scandal hit construction group Odebrecht, many of whose executives are now in prison over an organised bribery scandal.
Maracana said the organisers fails to hand the stadium back in adequate condition. A contention they strongly denied, leading to a dispute over who should pay for the maintenance. While they argued, the stadium fell into disrepair.
Thieves and vandals entered, stealing seats. The pitch withered and died. And even the electricity was cut off for a while. [DRUMMING]
Now there's no danger that football is going to die in Rio de Janeiro. We're here now at the Estadio Nilton Santos, which held the track and field events during the Olympics. And local club Botafogo are about to play a game, which as you can see, has plenty of people here. But it's still extraordinary that Rio's legacy at the moment, is that it had one great global stadium. And as a result of the Olympics, at least for now, it's lost it. [CHEERING]