Earlier this week, the Brazilian Football Federation announced that six of Palmeiras’ home games in the first half of the 2012 Brazilian Championship will be played in the city of Barueri, in the outskirts of the metropolitan area of São Paulo. According to CBF, the decision was based on a request coming from the club itself. Four of the six games are against traditional and strong teams, including two derbies. Below, the games affected by the change:
17/06 – Palmeiras x Vasco (16:00)
01/07 – Palmeiras x Figueirense (18:30)
15/07 – Palmeiras x São Paulo (18:30)
22/07 – Palmeiras x Náutico (16:00)
04/08 – Palmeiras x Internacional (18:30)
25/08 – Palmeiras x Santos (18:30)
Barueri is located some 30 km far from the city of São Paulo and public transport is precarious, especially at night. Going by car is not a cheap option when considering gas, tolls and other expenses (just parking your wheels will set you back US$ 20). What could possibly justify not using the available municipal stadium Pacaembu, in the centre of the city of São Paulo, but instead the Barueri stadium?
It essentially boils down to Scolari “not liking” the Pacaembu stadium, considering it too closely linked with other teams (especially Corinthians) and the originator of bad vibes and bad luck. Scolari claims not only he but also the players dislike the municipal stadium.
“Palmeiras are a club from the city of São Paulo. The city of São Paulo has a municipal stadium, the Pacaembu. Palmeiras are the team which most times have been crowned champion at the Pacaembu, even though being in possession of a stadium of their own. Palmeiras were the team that inaugurated the municipal stadium, beating Coritiba 6-2. One of the most glorious episodes in the history of Palmeiras – the “Arrancada Heróica” [the “Heroic Charge” of 20 September 1942 when a Leader died and a Champion was born – my clarification] – took place at the Pacaembu.“
Personally, I’m not particularly affected by the change of stadiums (although I do have plane tickets for myself and a friend to assist the derby on 15 July and am now in a bit of a limbo) but I’m completely outraged by the lack of respect for Palmeiras’ history and for the hard core of supporters who honour their commitment of attending each and every home game – supporters that are now forced to travel to another city to attend 60 per cent of their team’s “home” games.
Scolari doesn’t like the Pacaembu? Since when should extremely well paid coaches dictate how and where the team he works for should play? Since when is it allowed to brush decades, almost a century of history and tradition aside in the name of superstition and personal preferences? Where’s the respect for the supporters in their thousands who make Palmeiras their lives? Again, president Tirone and the directors show a complete lack of spine and direction. Or maybe they just don’t care. Either option is equally plausible and, unfortunately, not mutually excluding.
It’s been said before and it will be repeated: for a kid to become a Palmeiras supporter in this day and age, he/she needs not only a strong personality but quite some stomach.