A Brazilian judge has suspended the privatisation of the Maracana Stadium, pending an investigation into irregularities in the bidding process.

Judge Gisela Faria believed one of the companies involved in the bidding for the stadium's management was given an unfair advantage.

The Rio de Janeiro state authorities had recently announced a group that includes one of Brazil's richest men, Eike Batista, had won the bid to manage the stadium for the next 35 years.

"Even before the bids were put forward, the principle of fairness among the competitors had been disregarded," Judge Faria said in her ruling.

The winning bid included building organisation Odebrecht and Los Angeles-based entertainment company AEG, which manages several venues across the US and Europe.

The defeated bid was led by rival Brazilian building company OAS, the French company Lagardere and Stadion Amsterdam.

State governor Sergio Cabral had said the bidding process "has been approved by the legal authorities" and was "perfectly legal".

But Judge Faria said the Rio authorities must now wait for a final ruling on the legality of the bidding process before allowing any company to take over the stadium, which is to host matches at the 2014 World Cup.

Posted on 10/05/2013