Last Wednesday (27), the controversial concession of the Paulo Machado de Carvalho Municipal Stadium, Pacaembu, had yet another unusual development: from a set of 8 thousand seats, 600 were transformed into chairs and stools by TokStok, with prices reaching almost R$ 1800. The items were donated to the store, and the proceeds will be donated to the Gol de Letra foundation. Shortly after the announcement of the commercialization of the seats, there was a barrage of criticism on the internet.
“There is no kindness here. This is doing charity with someone else's hat, in this case mine, yours, our Pacaembu's hat”, wrote Deborah Neves, in her account on a social network. Doctor in History and specialist in Cultural Heritage, Deborah says that “chairs […] have become an object of desire”, “an asset that can be sold for the fetish value”, while “the private concessionaire […] is dredging the Pacaembu”. , emptying its meaning, its value and leaving only the simulacrum of one of the most important stadiums in the country”.
For urban planners heard by the report, the donation of seats, which are public goods, of a heritage listed by state and municipal bodies, should have taken place directly to a non-profit entity, which would decide their destination. The immediate transfer to the private sector allowed a brand to carry out, from the initiative, a marketing action, with a guise of social responsibility. A criticism that reverberates another passage of Deborah Neves' text: “The Gol de Letra Foundation should refuse this reversal and demand that people donate directly without dilapidating the history, memory, honor and heritage of football”.
General director of Gol de Letra, Sóstenes Oliveira tells arte!brasileiros that the foundation was approached in June, not by Allegra or TokStok, but by the home decor company's advertising agency. “We were consulted by the DPZ if we would want to participate. At that time, there was still the possibility that more than one entity would benefit. We would never go after Allegra or anything like that, but we accepted. As guests, and as I don't understand the intricacies of the concession contract, we found the initiative to give a utility, with an aesthetic appeal, to what would be discarded beautiful. It is clear that this is also a marketing action, and that benefits the brand”.
After the announcement made yesterday (28) that councilor Celso Giannazi (PSOL) had sued the São Paulo Public Ministry and the São Paulo Court of Auditors against the sale, Oliveira consulted lawyers, who consider “the campaign an act based on cool". The money, according to him, will be destined to the foundation's projects and programs, which take place in Rio de Janeiro and São Paulo.
The report reached out to Allegra and TokStok to clarify the timeline and criteria for donating and evaluating the seats, as well as details of the process of adapting them to furniture, but did not obtain this information. The concessionaire stated, through its press office, that the evaluation took place “between January 2020 and now”, and stressed that they were not original items, but rather “seats that were implemented in the 1990s and would be discarded in the renovation process. of the east and west stands”, which does not detract from their character of public good, nor their value as a memory of heritage. He also communicated that his spokesperson is out of Brazil until the 5/8th and did not offer an alternative for interviews.
The decoration company, also via advising, did not indicate a representative, stating that it would only “follow the official position, made in conjunction with Allegra”. Both released a note in which they qualify the action as a “socio-environmental initiative” and emphasize that “there is no legal or contractual restriction”. The City of São Paulo, through the Municipal Sports Department (SEME), confirmed the absence of restrictions, declared that it was up to Allegra “to dispose of and/or dispose of existing materials and equipment in the Complexo do Pacaembu” and that “the reuse of chairs avoided their disposal, giving them a new purpose.”
In interview with arte!brasileiros, Margareth Matiko Uemura, coordinator of the Instituto Pólis, a civil society organization (OSC), with national action on issues related to the right to the city, considers that donating something public to the private is “very strange”, that the assignment of seats should have been made directly to a non-profit entity, such as Gol de Letra itself, not to a private company.
“The concession should not allow the undoing of public assets. After all, the public power is not donating those goods, the concessionaire cannot do what it wants. The concessions are long-lived, but in the end, the heritage returns to the government. In the case of Pacaembu, it will return without these chairs. It is a relevant issue, and the rules must be clear in the concession process and for the population”, says the architect and urban planner.
The previous controversy
The sale of seats is yet another episode in the controversial stadium concession process, which Allegra won in January 2020, when it took over the management of the Pacaembu Sports Complex for 35 years. Until then under the management of the city hall, the public facility, inaugurated in the 40s, had been listed in 1988 by Conpresp (Municipal Council for the Preservation of Historical, Cultural and Environmental Heritage of the City of São Paulo) and, in 1998, by Condephaat ( Council for the Defense of Historical, Archaeological, Artistic and Tourist Heritage), a state body.
In May, Allegra demolished the two central stands (east and west) of the stadium, alleging that it needed to create areas for people to circulate and also start the construction, under the seats on the Rua Itápolis side, of an arena for -sports, name given to competitions with virtual games. The concessionaire stated, at the time, that it had authorization from Condephaat, which was confirmed in a note from the Secretary of Culture and Creative Economy of the State of São Paulo, to which the council is connected. The statement said that “the project approved by Condephaat foresees the demolition and reconstruction of the side stands”. Allegra announced that both structures will be redone until the stadium reopens in January 2024.
The architect and urban planner Marcio Novaes Coelho Jr., who was a technician at Condephaat from 2003 to 2007, and is a professor of Heritage Preservation at Faap and Universidade Presbiteriana Mackenzie, complains that there is a lack of information regarding the process as a whole. . When the demolition took place, Coelho Jr., who is also Director of Cultural Heritage at Associação Viva Pacaembu, asked council technicians about where he could consult the approvals, and they, in turn, indicated a website about the project, maintained by the concessionaire itself. . “I went in there, and there's only one side of the stands mentioned,” he says.
For the architect, even though Allegra has these authorizations, it is a listed property, and it cannot be destroyed, only claiming that it is going to be rebuilt. “This doesn't exist anywhere in the world, no heritage preservation charter talks about replacing what was demolished. Conceptually, it is completely wrong. And, in the case of Pacaembu, there is an aggravating factor: both in the Conpresp and Condephaat tombstones, the first item of recognition of its heritage value talks about how the stadium was implanted in order to take advantage of the topography of the land, which formed a grandstand Natural. So she was a thin layer of concrete over the earth. Although it is a symbolic value, it refers to the important relationship between architecture and the territory in that project”, he says.
The argument echoes a post on social media made at the time of the demolition by Nabil Bonduki, a professor at FAU-USP: “The bleachers of the Pacaembu Stadium, listed by heritage, seated on the slope of the grotto of the Pacaembu stream, in an example of in dialogue with the physical environment, they were destroyed by the concessionaire Allegra Pacaembu”. In an interview with arte!brasileiros, Bonduki says that, when he looked at the project, he thought the concessionaire would dig under the bleachers, “making a concrete structure on the inside, keeping the top part intact”, he explains. “From a heritage point of view, the demolition was a disaster.”
As for the chairs, Bonduki says that at least a fraction of the seats could have been salvaged and kept in the stadium as part of his memory. For him, if people are paying up to R$1800 for a chair, it is because it has historical value, and this should be enjoyed by everyone and not just by those who can afford it. “But Allegra behaves like it's private property. There's a stadium concession, and they're using everything that's there for economic exploitation. You are taking a stadium and transforming almost 100%, in the most valued region of the city, into a commercial area. The toboggan was demolished to build a building with a hotel, restaurants, shops, etc. The field will become an arena for shows”, he exemplifies.
In a note about the demolition, the Secretary of Culture and Creative Economy of the State of São Paulo reported that “the approved project was analyzed both by the Municipal and State spheres, so there is no irregularity or damage to the patrimony, but an intention to occupy the subsoil. , as was done in several listed properties such as Ipiranga Museum, Estação da Luz, Cidade Matarazzo, Berlin Olympic Stadium, among others, with a view to modernizing the facilities, increasing the area and providing qualified services.”
Nabil Bonduki cites the privatization of Ibirapuera as a counterexample to what has been happening at the stadium: “I have criticisms of its concession, but it remains a park, with public access, although with abusive prices for consumption on site. The company keeps it running, clean and safe, and the use remains as original. At Pacaembu, use for soccer will be practically tertiary. It is no longer the main objective, a stadium for important games, for Corinthians, São Paulo, Palmeiras and, above all, for Santos, which does not have a stadium in São Paulo, but with a large crowd. If you won't have football as your main activity, why didn't they sell it at once? Because they would pay much more than they paid for the concession.”
A rather nebulous process
The idea of privately managing Pacaembu is not new – at the end of the 1990s, it had already been included in the list of assets to be privatized by the then mayor Celso Pitta and, in 2015, when the stadium turned 75, Fernando Haddad (PT ) even opened a public notice, without success. It was only in 2017, with the city hall under the management of João Doria (PSDB), that the project gained traction. According to Coelho Jr., the entry of the politician, both in the prefecture and in the state government, made this whole process “quite nebulous”.
“Conpresp's management, even after the end of his term, continues to be managed by people allied to him. And as soon as Doria took over the government of São Paulo, he changed the composition of Condephaat, the number of representatives of civil society. With the change, he secured the majority, forever, in the decisions of the State,” he explains.
In a note, Condephaat states that “the questioning is not valid” and that the council was reformulated in 2019 “to increase the representation of civil society and ensure more agility and technical rigor in decisions”. The statement also adds: “Since the reformulation, no biweekly meeting has failed to occur due to lack of quorum, which was unfortunately common before the reformulation. There are representatives of the State Government, the Federal Government, universities and civil society institutions, as well as specialists in material and immaterial heritage with a notable knowledge in the area”.
For Margareth Matiko Uemura, who is also a member of the Municipal Council for Urban Policy (CMPU), the concession is, in any case, entirely inappropriate. “It is an important public facility, which serves thousands of people, in addition to being well located and an exponent of architecture, so it has protection from the protection agencies. It adds up many attributes that should be under the tutelage of the public power”, she says. “There is an error in these concession and privatization processes, in which the municipality is exempt from its responsibility to provide the population with adequate and good quality public spaces, for the use of diversified activities and broad access for the population.”