Rio de Janeiro, Sep 11 (IANS) Brazil's iconic Maracana Stadium will be shut for almost a month to allow for repairs to its damaged pitch, the venue's operator said.
The 79,000-seat Maracana, which hosted the decisive World Cup matches in 1950 and 2014, has been the subject of heavy criticism in recent weeks for the worn and uneven state of its turf, reports Xinhua news agency.
Maracana SA, which holds a 35-year concession to manage the stadium in Rio de Janeiro's north, confirmed that no games would be staged at the venue from September 13 to October 9.
According to Greenleaf, the company responsible for maintaining the playing surface, the Maracana has been unable to cope with 13 matches in the past 36 days.
Monday's decision means that Brazilian Serie A club Fluminense will be forced to relocate four home matches. The ground's other tenant, Flamengo, will be unaffected by the closure.
Botafogo coach Ze Ricardo described the state of the Maracana pitch as "lamentable" after his team's 0-1 loss to Fluminense in Brazil's Serie A championship on Sunday.