A total of 11 people, including the former president of the Flamengo soccer club, were indicted on Friday in connection with the deaths of 10 teenage soccer players in a fire in 2019, prosecutors said.
The children, ages 14 to 16, died on February 8, 2019, when a nighttime fire swept through the Flamengo training center on the outskirts of Rio de Janeiro. Three others were seriously injured.
The boys were training with the club or undergoing tests and were staying in ship containers that had been converted into accommodation when the fire started. It is believed to have been caused by a short circuit in an air conditioning unit.
The prosecution’s report charged the 11, some of whom worked for the club and others who provided, installed and maintained the accommodation, of negligence leading to their deaths and describes a series of “irregularities and illegalities”.
He said Flamengo officials withheld from regulatory authorities the actual conditions in which the youths were housed, did not follow correct standards for housing, did not properly maintain facilities and did not provide evacuation plans in the event of a fire.
Flamengo had been told to shut down the facility but ignored orders, according to the report. He said that the club’s president, Eduardo Carvalho Bandeira de Mello, “decided not to make a monitor available for each group of 10 young residents there and did not provide the space reserved for them with the minimum standards.”
In a statement, Flamengo said it was willing to cooperate with authorities but had no comment on Friday’s charges.
The club, Brazilian champion and Copa Libertadores champion last season, has faced criticism over lengthy negotiations on how the boys’ families will be compensated.
In December, the club announced that it had reached agreements with all but two of the 10 families.