Rio court nixes appeal against Maracana privatization

Bidding for the privatization of Rio's iconic Maracana stadium was to go ahead as planned Thursday after a local court rejected an appeal to block the process.

Court President Leila Mariano "rejected an appeal which had suspended the tender process for the rights to operate the Maracana complex," the Rio state government said on its website.

Prosecutors had denounced a "lack of fairness" in the terms offered to the 21 bidders seeking to operate one of the world's great soccer arenas.

Maracana, which was built for the 1950 World Cup, is undergoing extensive renovation at a cost of 430 million dollars to host four Confederations Cup matches in June as well as seven World Cup games next year, including the finals of both tournaments.

The stadium is to be delivered to world's governing body FIFA on April 27.

The renovation will convert Maracana into a multi-purpose arena featuring bars, restaurants and shops. It also involves the demolition of a former indigenous museum and some athletic facilities near the arena.