Elitism in Brazilian football

02Jun11

Brazil are going to play against the Netherlands next Saturday in Goiânia. Although the Dutch players seem to be more concerned about having a good time in Rio de Janeiro instead of focusing on the friendly match, that would be a great and rare opportunity for Brazilian football fans to appreciate a high-class European national team. But the fact is that just a minority can consider going to Serra Dourada Stadium because ticket prices range from R$140 (US$ 114.00) to R$800 (US$ 507.00), which is extremely costy to the Brazilian citizen.

Brief historical overview

Football was a sport both practiced and watched only by the Brazilian elite at the beginning of the twentieth century, once that not haves and/or non-whites weren’t allowed to take part of any activity related to the game. From the twenties on, the success of non-whites players such as Arthur Friedenreich and Leonidas da Silva and the consolidation of working-class clubs like Internacional de Porto Alegre, Vasco da Gama, Atlético Mineiro and Corinthians indicated that football was getting more popular. At the same time, many believed Brazil couldn’t make it internationally due to the presence of non-white athletes, what was classified in the 50’s as ‘complexo de vira-lata’  (the mongrel complex) by the great playwright Nelson Rodrigues. At least on the pitch, the mongrel complex came to an end when Brazil lifted its first World Cup trophy after beating Sweden in the final match with the decisive contribution of players like Didi, Djalma Santos, Garrincha and Pelé, amongst others.

Brazilians became proud of their excellence in football, the best footballers were treated as idols and the big clubs were already supported by millions of fans. Consequently, grounds throughout the country were constantly overcrowded and the passion for football was already a meaningful aspect of the Brazilian culture. Hence, football could be appreciated by anyone regardless of their background.

Violence mustn’t be an excuse

Brazil’s society has always been a violent one, then it’s naïve to think that football wouldn’t be affected by what goes on in people’s day by day. Many Brazilian lawmakers, journalists and middle-class brainwashed jerks make a silly mistake while criminalizing football-related incidents as well as hooliganism because they believe the whole thing stems from poverty.

Firm members are often taken to police stations when a fight occurs, though the police let them free after a couple of hours. Likewise, corrupt politicians hardly ever are arrested when they benefit from public money. In both practical examples, criminals aren’t punished for their wrongdoing, so it’d be better to face and fight against the overspread impunity instead of just accusing the low-income folks – what is a Brazilian hobby many times.

Expensive tickets will never make the number of criminal occurrences decrease on a football match day. It only excludes the law-abiding football fans that are unable to watch the Brazilian national team and even their favorite sides for not having a high wage.

Brazil x Netherlands

Next Saturday afternoon, the average Brazilian supporter who lives nearby Goiânia will once again be obliged to watch a football match on TV due to lack of options . Who can afford to spend so much on a football ticket? How much are the World Cup tickets going to cost in 2014?

It’s a pity that the Brazilian Football Confederation shows once again that it doesn’t give a damn to the growing process of bringing elitism back to football. Also, it seems not to care about Brazilian football and about the supporters, so what are its main interests?

Maracanazo 2014 roots for a Dutch victory!

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