Flamengo soccer club president Rodolfo Landim, right, attends a mass in honor of the 10 teenage soccer players who were killed by a fire at the Flamengo training center last Friday, in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, Friday, Feb. 15, 2019. The victims were between 14 and 16 years old. Police are still investigating what caused the fire. (AP Photo/Silvia Izquierdo)

Flamengo soccer club fire in Brazil: bad luck or negligence?

February 15, 2019 - 11:02 pm

RIO DE JANEIRO (AP) — Within hours of a fire at soccer club Flamengo's training facility that would kill 10 teenage players, the club's president called it "the worst tragedy" in the team's 123-year history.

Soccer greats around the world expressed condolences, Rio de Janeiro's mayor declared three days of mourning and the club commemorated the boys during its latest home game. Club officials repeatedly said the fire was simply a question of bad luck.

But for at least four years before the blaze, the club flouted city and code regulations at the training facility, incurred numerous fines and was the target of a lawsuit by state prosecutors related to the treatment of its academy players and their living quarters, an Associated Press review of city documents and a lawsuit has found.

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