“No names making reference to the axis powers allowed” read the controversial decree, issued by Brazil’s president Getúlio Vargas in 1942. Under the threat of having to forfeit all the club’s assets and be expelled from the São Paulo state championship they were leading, Palestra Italia changed name to Palmeiras.
From Palestra to Palmeiras, on the week preceding the State championship final against São Paulo Futebol Clube. São Paulo FC, which openly played the treason card in relation to “foreign” sport associations, having already taken over the facilities of “Deutscher Sport Club” through a forced merger. Now, the same club was laying claim to the assets of the former Palestra Italia.
20 September 1942, day of the championship final. Palmeiras entered the pitch carrying a Brazilian flag under the leadership of Army Captain Adalberto Mendes. With the game underway, Palmeiras were soon leading 3-1. Then, with a penalty called in Palmeiras’ favour, São Paulo pulled their side off the field amid jeers and taunts from the stands.
The following day, newspapers sold out. The headline remains in classic: “A Leader Dies, A Champion Is Born”. This defining episode in the club’s history was later coined Arrancada Heroica, the Heroic Jolt.
Happy Anniversary, Palmeiras!