FIFA cancel 500 days celebrations in light of Santa Maria events
FIFA have announced that they will no longer be holding a celebration to mark 500 days until the opening game of the 2014 World Cup in Brazil.
The announcement comes after tragic events in Santa Maria which has seen at least 245 people lose their lives in a nightclub fire.
Jerome Valcke, FIFA general secretary, was in Brazil and had this to say: "I am a father. And on behalf of Fifa send my sympathy to the relatives of the victims. I can not imagine the pain they are now, it is not natural for a parent bury a child."
The fire, believed to have been started by fireworks, claimed many lives on Saturday night as thick smoke enveloped the venue and people clambered for the few available exits.
The story, which has been developing throughout the day, has captured major attention worldwide due to the scale of the devastating incident.
Campeonato Gaúcho fixtures have also been cancelled today as the area's two big sides, Internacional and Grêmio were due to play their games.
The statement was issued by the state football federation on their official website, once the scale of the tragedy began to emerge. A new date for the fixtures will be announced in due course.