Sports

Ten dead in fire at football club ground in Brazil

Ten dead in fire at football club ground in Brazil

There was no word yet on the cause of the fire and messages to Flamengo officials were not immediately answered.

Brazil's President Jair Bolsonaro, who is in semi-intensive care in hospital following surgery on his abdomen, said he felt "the families' pain".

Like many professional clubs in soccer-crazed Brazil, Flamengo has a youth development program for promising young players in their early teens.

Real Madrid forward Vinicius Junior, who joined the club from Flamengo previous year, said: "Just remembering the nights and days I spent at the training center, it gives me goosebumps". The club posted a graphic on Twitter that said "Flamengo is in mourning".

"I still can't believe it. Let's pray for everyone".

Television channel Globo reported that youth players were among the dead, although it did not cite its sources.

The main team had been due to practice at the same facility later in the morning, for their last training session ahead of Saturday's derby against fierce local rivals Fluminense.

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It was not known if any players were hurt in the blaze, although the Rio de Janeiro-based club has accommodation for teenage players at the ground. The facility, which translates to the "Vulture's Nest", is so called because the club's symbol is a vulture.

Flamengo is arguably Brazil's most famous club, with an estimated 40 million fans nationwide.

Distraught relatives rushed to the facility seeking information about loved ones, TV footage showed.

The best of those eventually play for Flamengo and several other teams across Brazil.

The training camp is in an area of western Rio that was hit by a fierce storm on Wednesday night. Ten people have been reportedly killed in the blaze, say local reports.

"The kids from the Flamengo youth team were sleeping there at the time", firefighter Douglas Henaut told Globo News. The Fire department stated through local radio that there were boys between the ages of 14 to 17 in the accomodation.


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