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Nightclub fire prompts Brazil to strength safety legislation ahead of 2014 World Cup

London: Brazil’s Congress has been asked to enact a new federal bill in an attempt to strengthen safety regulations ahead of the 2014 World Cup.

The move comes after a blaze that killed more than 230 people in a nightclub and prompted a national debate about existing legislation.

According to the BBC, the new bill would cover the licensing of clubs and mass events, as well as fire prevention measures.

It would take precedence over the many state and city laws that exist.

Sunday’s tragedy in the southern city of Santa Maria has prompted widespread domestic concern about Brazil’s ability to host major sporting tournaments in the next four years.

The 2016 Olympics are to take place in Rio de Janeiro.

The disaster also led the Congress to set up a working group on Tuesday.

Congressman Paulo Pimenta, who will coordinate the effort to draw up new proposals, said that the World Cup made the issues even more urgent.

Brazil’s football legend Pele added his voice to calls for action, tweeting that the government ‘must make event safety and security a priority’.

The high number of deaths in Santa Maria is being blamed on the stampede as the blaze started, with many young clubbers not being able to escape through the only available exit.

A large number of bodies were found trapped in the club’s toilets, which were possibly mistaken for an exit.

According to Pimenta, the new federal legislation will also establish nationwide rules about exit signs and emergency lights.

Pimenta said that it would be difficult to toughen the current wide array of local laws and a national response would be the best way forward.

So far, mayors from at least eight major Brazilian cities, including seven of the 12 World Cup host cities, have announced measures aimed at avoiding similar tragedies.

In Sao Paulo, Brazil’s largest city, Mayor Fernando Haddad said officials would examine local laws about safety standards before working out what changes were needed.

Other mayors have opted for a tougher approach towards businesses that do not comply, while the Brazilian media are also joining in the pressure for change.