Impossible not to notice financial institute Crefisa and the Faculdade das Américas (FAM) whenever Palmeiras are in the spotlights. Their logos cover four different parts of the jersey, their advertising boards are all over the Allianz Parque and Palmeiras’ training centre, not to mention the inflatable pig manoeuvring over the pitch on match day. There is a reason for this omni-presence: nobody has put more money into a football club this year than Crefisa/FAM have put into Palmeiras: close to R$ 60 million (US$ 15 million) including sponsorship, buying of players, payment of wages and a major remake of the club’s training facilities.
It’s like going from 0-100 in three seconds. Why?
Because for these stakeholders, it’s not only business. Sure, president of Crefisa and director of FAM Leila Pereira says the increased visibility is doing good, that the number of new FAM students in mid-term has tripled. Still, it has never been a secret that the owner of Crefisa and FAM, José Roberto Lamacchia, is a palmeirense of the most passionate sort. A passion that has contaminated Leila, to whom Mr. Lamacchia has been married for over 30 years. Today, they share the dream of seeing Palmeiras once again a champion, to be part of the resurgence of a giant.
The reason Mr. Lamacchia is pushing chips into the pot is thus partly spelled business, partly spelled passion. But here’s a third crucial element that helps explaining the timing of the move: Palmeiras president Paulo Nobre. The couple believe in Nobre’s vision, competence and ethics, trusting him to make good use of the generous amounts involved in the partnership. Or in the words of Leila Pereira in a recent interview: I wish for this partnership to last forever, as long as Palmeiras is administered in a serious manner.
And what a partnership! Earlier this year, Crefisa placed Lucas Barrios at Palmeiras, having paid not only all expenses related to the transfer of the centre-forward, but also committed to cover all of Barrios’ pay checks during his three-year contract – a deal estimated at some R$ 37 million in total. Crefisa then proceeded to purchase the economic rights of Thiago Santos, Leandro Almeida and, most recently, Vítor Hugo – securing these players in the Palmeiras squad. Unlike Barrios, these three have their wages covered by the club, not Crefisa.
None of these four players belong to Crefisa, neither does Crefisa have any say regarding their staying or leaving the club. If any of them are sold with a loss, Crefisa takes the rap. If sold with a profit, Crefisa makes a profit. The important thing to remember: Palmeiras are receiving players the club hardly would afford on their own, and without taking any risks.
I wish for this partnership to last forever, as long as Palmeiras is administered in a serious manner.
Leila Pereira, president of Crefisa & director of FAM
In addition to players, Crefisa is investing heavily in the remaking of Palmeiras’ training facilities. The comprehensive reform will ensure comfort to players for years: new pitches; better lighting; a new and complete sports complex including indoor hall, pool and gym; first grade medical equipment including for dentistry, accommodation for 44 athletes… Palmeiras’ training grounds, expected to stand ready by December this year, will be second to none in Latin America.
1992-2000 is known as the “Parmalat Era”, a period during which the Italian multinational poured in money at Palmeiras and even co-managed the club. It is considered one of the most successful periods in Palmeiras’ history, with no less than eleven important trophies won: three São Paulo championships, two Brazilian championships, two Rio-São Paulo tournaments, one Brazil Cup, one CBF Champions Cup, one Mercosul Cup and one Libertadores Cup.
Compared to the Parmalat deal, there is no co-management involved in the Crefisa/FAM/Palmeiras partnership. Which is actually a good thing. Now, in term of results, there’s no reason why the partnership couldn’t be just as successful over time.
Scoppia che la vittoria è nostra!