Topless fans, music and flags banned from Brazil's Maracana

BRAZILIAN football fans in the world-famous Maracana stadium could be banned from taking off their shirts, standing up, playing musical instruments and waving flags now it has been refurbished ahead of the 2014 World Cup.

The stadium's management has drawn up a code of conduct for clubs who want to play their home games at the ground in Rio, and Joao Borba, president of the consortium, told local newspaper Extra that he wanted the supporters to change their habits.

"I'm referring to bamboo flag poles, bass-drums, watching the matches standing," he explained. Other ideas include banning fireworks and introducing barriers to segregate fans.

However, attempts to introduce what Yahoo! described as "sterilisation measures" to the spiritual home of Brazilian football after its $450m modernisation have not been well received.

Reuters reports that the move confirms "the fears of supporters worried about the gentrification of the country's stadiums following their modernisation for next year's World Cup".

Bloggers have accused the stadium's owners of declaring war on the people and trying to "handpick the attendance", reports the BBC. And it believes the chances of getting fans to obey the rules are slim.

"In a city where walking around wearing only shorts and flipflops is as common a men's outfit as suit and tie, many do not believe the changes can be implemented," it says.

Rules similar to the ones being suggested by the stadium administrators were in force during the recent Confederations Cup and the atmosphere inside the ground was widely praised. "However, some felt it had lost the magic of the old arena where matches were played against the backdrop of beating drums and teams were greeted with fireworks, showers of toilet rolls and the waving of giant flags," says Reuters.

All four top-flight clubs in Rio are hoping to play their home games at the 80,000-capacity arena, which once held almost 200,000. So far only Fluminese have signed a contract, but Botafogo, Vasco da Gama and Flamengo are expected to follow suit. · 

More on Topless fans, music and flags banned from Brazil's Maracana