|Estádio Raimundo Sampaio|
|Location||Belo Horizonte, MG, Brazil|
|Opened||June 25, 1950|
|Field dimensions||105 x 68 m|
The Raimundo Sampaio Stadium, more commonly known as Independência (Portuguese: Independence), is a football stadium located in the Horto neighborhood of Belo Horizonte, Minas Gerais, Brazil. It was built in 1950 for the FIFA World Cup, held in Brazil. Initially its capacity was for 30,000 people. After the reconstruction between 2010-2012, the capacity is for 25,000 people. It belonged to the defunct Sete de Setembro Futebol Clube, which is why the stadium is called Independence (the name of the team, September 7, is Brazil's Independence Day). The stadium is currently property of América Futebol Clube, but has been leased to the Minas Gerais state government for 20 years, as counterpart for the injection of public resources to demolish the old stadium, and built the new one.
Estádio Independência is the second most important stadium in Belo Horizonte, only behind Mineirão. Its formal name honors Raimundo Sampaio, a former chairman of Sete de Setembro. América and Atlético play their home games in this stadium.
Construction started in 1947, in preparation for the 1950 FIFA World Cup. The inaugural match was the World Cup match between Yugoslavia and Switzerland, won by the former by 3-0, and played on June 25, 1950. The first stadium goal was scored by Tomasevic. One of the most famous upsets in FIFA World Cup history was played here, the 1-0 upset by the United States over England at that 1950 World Cup.
After the construction of Mineirão, ownership of the stadium was transferred by the Minas Gerais government to Sete de Setembro. The Estádio Independência has been managed by América Mineiro since 1989.
Originally the stadium belonged to the Government of Minas Gerais, but with the inauguration of Mineirão in 1965, became the property of the club Sete de Setembro (reason the stadium is popularly known as Independence, according to the historical date), but with the demise of this club, in 1989 América rented the stadium, keeping it under their administration for a period of 30 years, in a system of leasing. At this stage América won Campeonato Brasileiro Série B in 1997 in the confrontation against Vila Nova-GO and in a match against Náutico the final phase of 18,900 paying fans attended. The América also won at that stage, the Brazilian Championship Series C in 2009.
Bleachers on game day America. In 1999, In partnership with Atlético, América built a metal structure grandstand, increasing the stadium capacity to about 30,000 people, plus an electronic scoreboard. But for lack of security, such grandstand was deactivated shortly thereafter. The end of the partnership also resulted in the removal of the score. Independência already served as a venue for music festivals, such as Pop Rock Brazil and the Axé Brazil.
The attendance record is 32,721 spectators, set in the match between Minas Gerais and Guanabara (Carioca), won by Minas Gerais 1-0, and played on January 27, 1963, it was the first final match of the 1962 Campeonato Brasileiro de Seleções Estaduais, played by state teams.
In 2010, Independência was demolished apart from its dressing rooms, and a brand new stadium was built in its place to host the games of Atlético Mineiro and América Mineiro while Mineirão went through renovations to host the 2014 World Cup. During the stadium's renovation, all three Belo Horizonte teams played in the Arena do Jacaré, located in nearby city Sete Lagoas. In 2012, the renovation was completed and América Mineiro returned to its original home venue, which is being also used to host games of Atlético Mineiro.
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