RIO DE JANEIRO: A further twist has added to the complex competitive world of Brazilian football with a decision by 12 top clubs to launch a breakaway tournament next year.
Among the clubs to commit to the Sul-Minas league are Flamengo, Fluminense, Internacional, Gremio and Atletico Mineiro. The competition would fit into the calendar ahead of the national championship scheduled to run from May to December.
The Sul-Minas league’s inaugural two-month season has been tentatively scheduled for early 2015, according to its president, Gilvan Tavares.
The embattled Brazilian football confederation, which has previously opposed the initiative, is expected to address the issue at a board meeting later this month. Head of the CBF is Marco Polo Del Nero, a controversial member of the FIFA executive committee.
‘Behind the times’
“This is a giant step,” Tavares said after a meeting of the participating club presidents.
“Brazilian football is behind the times. The reason for the [state] federations and the CBF are the clubs. If they do not work with the clubs, why do we need them?”
Brazil’s domestic football scene has long been beset by corruption and an archaic structure that has left most of the country’s professional clubs mired in debt. Among the major sources of frustration for fans are the state leagues, considered the chief culprit for Brazil’s cluttered football calendar.
The leagues – whose seasons span about four months – attract little interest from fans. The major clubs say the state competitions only serve to prop-up poorer rivals, whose political support can make or break the ambitions of CBF powerbrokers.
Fluminense and Flamengo have already said they will field reserve teams during Rio’s state competition next year to prioritize the Sul-Minas league.