The City Hall of Belo Horizonte opted to again prohibit the presence of the public in the capital’s stadiums, after concluding that the tests carried out in the matches between Atlético-MG x River Plate-ARG, with an audience that Mayor Alexandre Kalil believes to have been greater than 18 thousand people, and Cruzeiro x Confiança, with just over 4,000 fans, did not respect the pandemic protocols. This Monday (23), the head of the executive branch of the municipality called a press conference and explained the reasons for the decision.
In addition to talking about the subject, Kalil took the opportunity to respond to the provocations of businessman Ricardo Guimarães who, in an interview with Itatiaia Radio, even said that the city is rooting against the club, without mentioning the direct figure of the mayor. In addition, he rejected jealousy for the moment Atletico-MG is going through, which would be hindering the progress of the works on the Arena MRV, a stadium that is scheduled to be delivered in mid-2022.
Regarding the fans’ return to Mineirão, after more than 500 days, Alexandre Kalil highlighted that, at no time, there was an agreement between the city hall and the clubs. According to him, the idea came from the mayor’s office.
“It was an initiative of Alexandre Kalil, who asked the coping committee to give us an opportunity to find out if football could return. No director of any club in Belo Horizonte was via official letter, via in person, via phone call, asking with the fans in mind So I get absurd how suddenly it seems that we are unilaterally closing football,” said the mayor.
“The fans and the population have to know that we opened football unilaterally. After we decided that football deserved a chance, we called the club to put in the protocols, which unfortunately, worked out. We’re not going back here, because everyone watched it, Brazil watched it all, it was a national story, it was considered a real national scandal, but we’re not going to blame anyone,” he added.
Regarding the statements by Sérgio Batista Coelho, current president of Atlético-MG, comparing the traditional Hippie Fair in the capital – an event held on Sundays on Avenida Afonso Pena, with stalls – to football stadiums, Kalil highlighted the education of the president of Alvinegro in their placements and took the opportunity to differentiate them.
“To the president of Atlético, politely as he was in his live, I want to say that 2,300 families depend on the Hippie Fair, which closed for over a year. There are 2,300 families that need to buy rice, beans and, perhaps, eggs. The big difference between pleasing an audience of 4,000 in one game or 15, 18, 25,000 in the other is that there are 2,300 families desperately trying to feed. football game for a fair where these people died of hunger for so long,” he stressed.
Answers to Ricardo Guimarães
During the afternoon of this Sunday (22), businessman Ricardo Guimarães, one of the sponsors of Atlético-MG and former president of the club, gave an interview to Rádio Itatiaia and, without mentioning the name of the mayor of Belo Horizonte, said that the City Hall “supports against the club”.
“My perception is to be shocked by this measure. I see no reason for a decision as radical as this one. If there were errors in the match between Atlético and River Plate, the city is also participating in the error. Together with Atlético and Mineirão, the city should improve the protocol before taking such a radical decision. For me, this decision is more an internal Atlético political decision than a public issue of the city. This will never be admitted or even proven, but the city seems to want to dispute with the directors and collaborators of Atlético. It seems that, within the city hall, there are people who want to make things difficult for Atlético,” said Guimarães.
During much of the press conference, Kalil took the opportunity to answer the owner of Banco BMG, responsible for millionaire loans to Atlético-MG in recent years.
“Ricardo Guimarães was the president who pushed us through the second division. He was the worst president who has ever been at Atlético “I received a nasty attack from him. I had two surprises, he has a new attribute, courage, which was never his strong point. And the lack of fluency in reading. It’s an attempt to play Atlético fans against me. It is a partisan speech aimed at 2022.” stated the mayor.
“Saying that I support Atlético is an offense. Don’t measure me by your ruler. We have been sneakily attacked by Ricardo Guimarães. It’s over. Respect me, respect the brand we put at Atlético,” he added.
Arena MRV and club politics
Another subject addressed by the former president of Atlético-MG, champion of the Libertadores in 2013 and of the Copa do Brasil and Recopa Sudamericana in 2014, was in relation to the construction of the athletic stadium. According to Kalil, it is absurd to say that he and the city make the construction process difficult out of jealousy.
“There is nothing in the club’s internal policy. Everything was done by this city hall. I don’t even join Atlético-MG to vote and I only talk to the boss, who is Mr. Rubens Menin. Everything is requested by Cruzeiro, Atlético and America is served within the legality. There is no split within Atlético; none. There is no opposition within the club,” said Kalil.
“Regarding the documentation of Arena MRV, the requirements, I want to say again, I want to say again that whoever is in charge was here in the city hall for 10, 15 days, and had the answer that everything is being looked at in social policies. I would never harm one. stadium that bears my father’s name. 100 or 150 years from now, when the sponsor changes or not, the stadium institutionally has his name. I was trying not to charge Arena MRV for anything other than what is written,” he concluded.