The constant leakage of insider information to the press is nothing new to Palmeiras. With the passing of time, suspicion has been turning into certainty in regard to which individuals are responsible for almost daily serving journalist with gossip, half-baked truths and not seldom outright lies about the club.
However, things took an unusual turn this morning, when one of the main Brazilian online news portals published a full interview with Gilto Avallone, a member of Palmeiras’ Deliberative and Fiscal Council. The 72-year-old lawyer, who has been a member of Palmeiras’ inner circle for no less than 34 years, proudly announces that he indeed is the main responsible for providing the press with inside information and documents. He sees it as his duties to “expose all that’s wrong within Palmeiras”, and claims that “the lack of transparency” is the biggest problem the club faces.
Avallone being the mole comes as no surprise: he runs a blog where he frequently attacks Palmeiras and the directors, has close ties to ex-president Mustafá Contursi and is a feverish opponent of the New Arena, having personally tried to halt the construction by contesting the legality of the project in the courts. Still, Avallone openly admitting to be an informant is something completely different and rather unique. He obviously feels comfortable enough – perhaps even untouchable – to admit that he passes on monthly financial spreadsheets and other club documents to selected journalists – something most sane persons would consider an elevated level of treason.
In the interview, Avallone also goes after director of football Frizzo and president Tirone, calling Frizzo and ex-friend and both of them persons lacking character.
A forceful response from Palmeiras’ directors is of course in order. Pressing criminal charges might not be possible, but an immediate expulsion from the club is a logical first step, correct? Correct. But don’t expect much in that direction. Asked to comment, Tirone clarified that Avallone is a counsellor of Palmeiras and deserves to be treated with respect. Both Tirone and Frizzo seem more concerned about investigating the origins of a famous note that appeared in the club’s locker room warning people to talk about sensitive issues in Avallone’s presence than cleaning out the proper vermin in the house. Go figure. Italian politics is not for the faint of heart. To be continued.