Before the event, in an exclusive interview, Lula had already announced that the project, with an estimated investment of R$ 5.8 billion, will get off the ground, but that was not all. He also spoke about negotiations with Santos FC for the sale of the land where CT Rei Pelé was built.
“The club expressed interest in purchasing the property. The government is waiting for Santos’ proposal to be sent,” said Lula.
The gift delivered by Santos FC president, Marcelo Teixeira, is therefore symbolic in this sense, of the club’s rapprochement with the Federal Government.
The club, as President Lula said, has already expressed to the Union Heritage Secretariat (SPU) its interest in purchasing the land, which it enjoys after a free transfer agreement.
“The Santos Futebol Clube Training Center occupies land owned by the Union through a free-use assignment contract, signed in 1997 (it was in 1996), when King Pelé was still Minister of Sports. The space was originally supposed to be be used to train children and young people for the Santos base and today it serves the training of the team’s professional athletes”.
As soon as elected, in December 2023, the president of Santos, Marcelo Teixeira, met with members of the Federal Government to discuss the situation of CT Rei Pelé.
The meeting, in Brasília (DF), was attended by vice-president Geraldo Alckmin (PSB), the minister of Entrepreneurship, Microenterprise and Small Businesses, Marcio França, and deputies Paulo Alexandre Barbosa and Júnior Bozzela, all Santos.
At the beginning of 2023, Santos under the management of Andres Rueda had already formalized a proposal to the Federal Government to purchase the land from CT Rei Pelé. The values are kept confidential by the Vila Belmiro club, but the idea was to pay for a portion monthly and pay off the debt with a percentage of the money received in international transfers.
Located close to the Vila Belmiro stadium, the CT Rei Pelé land belongs to the Union Heritage Secretariat (SPU) and was ceded to Santos in 1996 under social considerations, such as the development of young people and teenagers from Baixada Santista and the promotion of sport .
In the past, on several occasions, Santos failed to comply with clauses in the agreement and ran the risk of losing the transfer of the land.
In December 2022, weeks before leaving the Federal Government, former president Jair Bolsonaro signed Law 14,474/2022, changing the text of Law 9,636/1998, and opening the possibility of purchasing the SPU land.
Currently, the Peixe training center meets the demands of the men’s and women’s professional teams, as well as training and games for the youth teams.
The club’s structure has three playing fields, a hotel, restaurant, changing rooms, press center, auditorium, swimming pool and weight training and physiotherapy rooms for Santos athletes.