Yesterday, Belluzzo underwent complementary heart surgery. The procedure was expected, and considered a success.
On the Monday – i.e. the day before Belluzzo’s surgery – it was decided that Palmeiras’ vice president Salvador Hugo Palaia would take over the presidency for a period of 45 days, while Belluzzo recovers. The effect was immediately felt.
Palaia rapidly announced the breaking up of the directorship of the football department within Palmeiras, composed by Gilberto Cipullo, Genaro Marino and Savério Orlandi. In its place, a Steering Committee/Council was announced, composed of the following persons: vice-presidents Clemente Pereira, Edvaldo Frasson and the before mentioned Cipullo; president of the Orienting Committee Seraphim Del Grande, administrative director Wlademir Pescarmona, financial director Francisco Busico, director for planning José Cyrillo Junior and presidential advisors Fabio Raiola and Antonio Carlos Corcione: thus all in all nine people. The Council has more of a political profile, and it is expected that Raiola and Busico will be the most influential members. Pescarmona has been appointed as leader of the new body.
Palaia’s crude action, although not that unexpected, provoked shockwaves. To some it came as a surprise that an interim president – with only a 45 days mandate – would carry out such dramatic change to the structure of the Club, especially since the current president’s mandate only lasts until the end of this year. To others, it was a reflection of Palaia’s critical view of the management of the Club, and in particular the financial management. Throw in political and personal aspirations, an old feud between Cipullo and Palaia, and the upcoming elections in the mix, and the motivational forces behind the sudden change in the Steering Committee might become a bit clearer to the rest of us.
Where does this leave the team, and where does it leave Scolari? Well, Palmeiras’ coach immediately released a note clarifying that his work continues as normal. Let’s indeed hope Scolari manages to steer clear of the internal political turbulence in the Club.
Palaia has kept José Cyrillo Junior taking care of everything related to the new Arena, which is good news. As for the rest, the best approach is most likely a “wait and see”. The coming week will reveal if there are to be any further changes and the scope of these. Anything Palmeiras will, as always, keep you updated.