BRASILIA: Sports Minister Aldo Rebelo is hoping that the World Cup hosting in 2014 will encourage the Brazilian game to improve its administrative standards and bring greater ‘democratisation,’ writes KEIR RADNEDGE.

Rebelo was addressed concern over a continued exodus to Europe of young talent, notwithstanding the sponsor-backed opportunism of a handful of clubs in repatriating internationally-renowned ‘names’ such as Ronaldinho, Adriano, Lucio and Alexandre Pato.

That concern has been exacerbated by Brazil’s failure to reach the final stages of the South American Under-20 Championship. This followed the bitterly disappointing failure to win Olympic gold at London 2012 last August.

Brazil’s youngsters finished fifth and bottom of their first-round group with one win, one draw and two defeats. This is the first time in 42 years that they have failed to reach the closing stages and the first time in 34 years that they will miss the World Youth Cup finals, being staged in Turkey in June.

The sports newspaper Lance! Described the under-20 results as “one of the greatest scandals in the history of Brazilian football.” It blamed poor management of the youth sector within the CBF, the Brazilian football confederation, and a lack of considered investment in youth development.

This echoed comments about a lack of investment in women’s football which followed Brazil’s quarter-final exit at the Women’s Under-17 World Cup in Azerbaijan last autumn.

Power brokers

Critics of the CBF have focused on an apparently self-appointed clique of power brokers such as past presidents Joao Havelange, his scandal-assailed former son-in-law Ricardo Teixeira, current 81-year-old president Jose Maria Marin and new FIFA exco member Marco Polo Del Nero, the Sao Paulo state federation boss.

Rebelo, in a teleconference with the international media, said: “Football in Brazil is a private activity – for example, Olympic sports depend much more on public money. There is a lottery whose resources go to sport but the sums are almost insignificant and mostly go only to pay clubs’ debts.

“Players have a difficult time in Brazil which leads to an exodus to other countries even though Brazil have won the World Cup more times than anyone else and is the country of football.

“We need to correct this by professionalising and democratising the structures of football and this is something we want to use the World Cup for, as a starting point for democratisation.”

Rebelo is a member of the Palmeiras club which recently elected a new president in former Dakar Rally driver Paulo Nobre and of whom Rebelo said he had “great hope.”

He suggested the government might consider offering tax breaks to clubs “who adopt a professional management and democratic model.”

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