A judge has suggested a novel use for one of the stadiums that organisers of the World Cup in Brazil are most concerned about: as a prisoner processing centre.

Judge Sabino Marques, speaking in the city of Manaus, said that the $275 million (R2.7 billion) AmazoniaArena could be used to ease the burden on the overcrowded public jail. The 44 000-seat stadium is one of 12 Brazil is building or refurbishing at a cost of at least $3.2bn.

The future use of the Manaus stadium has come under scrutiny from politicians and the public. The city has no soccer team in Brazil’s first or second divisions, and no tradition for the sport.

Manaus will host four group games during the World Cup.

During the Confederations Cup in June, Brazilians took to the streets in record numbers to protest against government spending, and they specifically targeted the World Cup.

“I see no other better place, even temporarily, to receive detainees in Manaus,” said Judge Marques, the president of the watchdog group tasked with monitoring the prison system in the Amazonas region, of which Manaus is the capital.

He also suggested prisoners be processed at a venue used to celebrate the annual carnival. “Until the state can solve the problem by building new prisons then these two empty spaces should be used,” Marques said.

Amazonas state officials declined to comment. – Bloomberg