Brazil’s old guard may hold sway with 73-year-old Marco Polo del Nero confirmed as the man to succeed octagenarian Jose Maria Marin as head of the Brazilian football Confederation.
But if the game’s hierarchy remains in place pressure to reform the domestic game is mounting from the bottom up via player pressure group Bom Senso (Common sense) FC.
The group is pushing hard for a congested fixture list, comprising a packed national and state league program, to be reduced and for financial fair-play of the kind being proposed in Europe to be brought in along with a fixed pre-season break.
Signs of subtle protest have been deployed, ranging from players standing with arms crossed for 30 seconds after kickoff or staging a mini-sit down.
The group’s determination to be heard has earned them some modest victories. They include a promise by the CBF to limit the number of matches per month and per year as well as a guaranteed month-long pre-season break from next year.
Even so, the players are conscious much more remains to be done. “Sometimes when people talk about Bom Senso, they say it’s all about those who earn the most, Flamengo’s Brazil international Elano told AFP.
“When the state championships finish a lot of (smaller clubs competing outside the national league structure) close the door. Bom Senso’s goal is to put an end to this disorganization”.
Of Brazil’s 20,000 professional players, some 16,000 receive less than twice the minimum wage of some $400 (` 24 thousand) a month and are effectively out of work at least half the year. Although former stars including world champion Ronaldo have lent their backing to the movement, Bom Senso have their critics.
Vampeta, a member of the 2002 Brazilian World Cup-winning squad dubbed the protest actions of December “daft,” a view shared by a number of club chairmen as well as the CBF. Player unions are also wary of Bom Senso as they see the group as a mix of 30-somethings looking to encroach on their own territory.