Estádio Raimundo Sampaio (Independência)

Capacity23 950
Country Brazil
CityBelo Horizonte
ClubsAmérica FC, Clube Atlético Mineiro
Inauguration 2012
Construction 22.01.2010 - 04.2012
Cost 125 mln R$
Design Missyor Arquitetos

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Description: Independência

Demolition of the previous ground was planned from 2008. América FC declined their lease of the stadium and Works were set to begin in 2009. Minas Gerais and federal government split the cost between themselves, then estimated at R$44m. Works started with delay of a year – demolition in January 2010 and construction of new stands in November that year. Huge problems were appearing along the way with cost rising from the early R$44m to 70, 90, 114 and finally R$125m. Works were delayed due to insufficient funding and official opening, first scheduled for Sept 2010 came almost two years later. First test-match, still with no crowd, was played on April 24th 2012. Ironically, though the cost was rising and timeframe stretching, capacity started falling. From early estimates of 33,000 to less than 24,000 in the end.

Despite the upgrades, Estádio Raimundo unfortunately was not selected as one of the 12 host stadiums for Brazil 2014 World Cup. Thankfully however, the venue retained its iconic open end behind one goal, allowing fans to overlook the city like its predecessor. It would have been a wonderful sight to see a member of the seleção to score at end of the stadium that overlooks the rest of Belo Horizonte (see below), something likely to happen as Brazil are expected by bookmakers to be among the top scorers in the upcoming World Cup. Elsewhere in Belo Horizonte the nearby and considerably larger capacity Estadio Mineirao will be hosting group games, including Brazil, meaning touring fans might get the chance to visit one of Brazil’s most iconic stadiums.

In accordance with Missyor Arquitetos’s plans, viewers were supposed to come as close to the action as possible. Thus very small distances and very steep stands that have 45 degrees slope in top tier. This led to huge controversies as the fire department demanded that high barriers were installed in front of every seat to prevent people from falling. Being based on state legislation, the demand was carried out. Result is not only safety though, but also obstructed view for all viewers having seats in the top tier. Another effect is redesigning of access/evacuation routes that in the end resemble a labyrinth more than staircases.

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