It’s one of the most legendary locations in sport, so Cambridge Rules 1848 is delighted that the first of five stones inscribed with the original rules of football that the project celebrates has been unveiled at The Maracanã Stadium in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.
Young people from the Street Child United Brazil charity – which has its roots in Cambridge – unveiled the sculpture outside the Maracanã museum last week, before playing on the pitch which was the venue for the FIFA World Cup Final in 1950 and 2014.The stone, inscribed with the original Cambridge Rules in Portuguese, is part of the Cambridge Rules 1848 project commissioned by Cambridge City Council, in which a block of granite was split into nine pieces and etched with the original rules of football in many different languages. Four are now installed and enjoyed daily on Parker’s Piece in Cambridge, where the original rules were played to for the first time 170 years ago. After the installation in Rio, there will be further events in Shanghai, Mombasa, Cairo and Chennai.
“Children have the honour of delivering this sculpture, a symbol that represents football all over the world,” said Adam Reid, CEO of Street Child United Brazil, which serves young people from the community of Complexo da Penha, in the north of Rio. “It will proudly introduce you to the Maracanã and be witnessed by visitors from all over the world.
We are absolutely thrilled that the sculpture finds a home in one of the most iconic places in world football.”
The sculpture in the Maracanã will be part of the itinerary of the stadium tour, which attracts more than 100,000 visitors each year, and at the unveiling the British Consul in Rio de Janeiro, Simon Wood, recalled that Brazil and the United Kingdom have a long and lasting relationship through football.
“Charles Miller, the father of Brazilian football, had British parents and learned the game whilst studying in the UK, before bringing a ball and set of rules to Brazil. Sending one of the nine sculptures here is a demonstration of the importance the country has for the United Kingdom. I hope these ties between the two nations will continue and thrive.”
“That our sculpture should find a home in such an incredible location and be unveiled by children who are thriving through football is a complete honour,” added Cambridge Rules 1848 artists Alan Ward and Neville Gabie. “When we began the Cambridge Rules 1848 project it was all about celebrating how a simple set of rules for a game played on a patch of ground in Cambridge became a worldwide phenomena, embraced by diverse cultures across the world and enriching lives and understanding.
“To mark that in a permanent way at a stadium so crucial to the history of the sport is a great thrill.”
All photography © WBR images/Gustavo Oliveira