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globo_respeite

“Football is run by Globo; the Federation is just a meeting room” – Alex

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Hundreds of tiny cuts. Day in, day out. Took me some years to notice, partly due to innocence, partly due to my inability to pick up the finer strokes and the “in-between-the-lines” in a still to me very foreign language.

From those early stages of ignorance, I progressed to denial, considering a wide, orchestrated campaign a preposterous idea, driven by the passion that blinds the best of supporters of any club at any given time.

Patterns became more visible over time, and so did my knowledge of the society in which I find myself inserted. These and other things converted to a different insight, laying the foundation for what I am about to address: the multifaceted and deliberate attacks on the Sociedade Esportiva Palmeiras.

These attacks are partly rooted in decade-long feuds of both political and social order; the Italian origin of the club; the “enemy-of-the-state” sentiment flourishing during WWII, culminating in the forced name change from Palestra Italia to Palmeiras; the biased Superior Tribunal of Sports, based in Rio de Janeiro, always catering for the interests of carioca teams; the rotten to the bone Brazilian Football Federation (CBF); the equally pathetic Paulista Football Federation… These and other factors directly and indirectly contribute to direct and indirect attacks on Palmeiras, exemplified on numerous occasions over the years, as exposed here at AP.

Yet, we are still to address Palmeiras’ main foe, the true hydra. The Globo television network and its affiliates.

The power of Rede Globo is unrivalled, and on many fronts. For decades, this giant of the Brazilian media has called the shots concerning the Brazilian championship and the National Squad, a puppet master of sorts behind the CBF. The Network assigns time slots for games without regard to stadium attendance, only concerned about securing maximum revenues from their primary cash cows, the telenovelas. Weekday games finish close to midnight, spectators sometime left without public transport to get home by.

The Network has its darlings, Flamengo and Corinthians. “The Clubs of the People”. Little efforts sparred to award advantages to these two in the pursuit of a “Barcelona vs. Real Madrid of the Americas” setting. Flamengo and Corinthians receive about the double in broadcasting rights compared to other major clubs, including Palmeiras, without any numbers to justify the distortion. They get more airtime, without television ratings to back up the decision. The two frequently enjoy positive plot twists: a Flamengo draw is an “increased undefeated streak” while a Palmeiras draw is a “narrow escape from embarrassing defeat”. Would you believe the Globo network even sponsors the fabrication of banners and flags for the organised supporter groups of Flamengo and Corinthians?
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The inflated broadcasting revenues enjoyed by the aforementioned darlings roughly correspond to what Palmeiras receive through the club’s Master Sponsorship agreement with Crefisa/FAM. Indeed an important source of revenue, albeit only making up some 16% of Palmeiras’ total inflow. The club is however frequently criticized in the media for “having accepted being hostage to the capital” and dependent on the whims of a sponsor.

Last year, after lengthy negotiations, Palmeiras opted for selling their 2019-2024 cable TV transmission rights to newcomers Esporte Interativo, part of the Turner Broadcasting Company, the television arm of Time Warner. This has generated two immediate effects: for the Palmeiras games that Globo would retain the right to broadcast (open air and PPV), the Network has offered Palmeiras a deal 20% below that of previous year. Palmeiras have so far refused; if stalemate prevails, Globo will be without broadcasting rights to 1/10 of games in the 2019 Brazilian championship.

More seriously, and as former Globo employee Luiz Ademar confirmed a few weeks back, the Network has been instructing their sports journalists to trash-talk Palmeiras. And not only Palmeiras, but any team that signs with Esporte Interativo.

Palmeiras’ exposure has diminished on cable TV and even on the radio, with the CBN and Globo radio stations sometimes opting out from a transmission that seemed like a no-brainer.

Add to this the absurdities frequently seen on social media. I refuse to linger on this topic, but will provide you with one example: “How many goals will Teo Gutiérres score against Palmeiras?” is the question posed by Globo affiliate SporTV. One would think the Network would express support for a Brazilian representative in the Libertadores Cup. Think again.
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Isolated, the aforementioned examples are easily brushed aside. Compiled, they draw a different picture. A picture also subject to healthy scepticism, were it not for its perpetration over time. And its effect on the referees.

No, there is no orchestrated conspiracy among referees to benefit certain teams and make life harder for others. No need to: everyone knows what happens to the career of a referee who makes a crucial mistake or two against Flamengo or Corinthians. Referees in Brazil never talk, unless they have committed such a mistake. A few weeks back we had one actually crying to the press outside the locker rooms.

No wonder attendance is dropping all over the scale. Supporters in general are tired of the bias, the manipulation and the outright lies. Palmeiras supporters in particular, who last week launched a twitter campaign that within hours reached the worldwide trending topics with the hashtag “GloboRespeiteOPalmeiras”.

Unhappy costumers is normally not good for business. In this particular context, unhappy costumers might hurt the brands associating themselves with Rede Globo in general and with football in particular. Food for thought.

Scoppia che la vittoria è nostra!

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For the last couple of weeks, and exclusively due to Palmeiras’ real possibility of clutching the club’s first national title in 14 years, I’ve been keeping a positive agenda. This post… Well, a handful of incidents make it impossible to keep quiet.

Yesterday afternoon, Palmeiras’ heavily criticized supporter programme Avanti was re-launched. The overall shortcomings of the original programme seem to remain and I will designate a post exclusively for the topic in a near future. What’s important right now is the decision (with immediate effect) to couple up the pre-purchase of game tickets to being a member of Avanti. This means that being a member is the only realistic way to secure tickets for the first semi-final game against Coritiba. Perfect timing if you want to boost adherence. Perverse timing if you care for your customers. Yesterday evening we saw an avalanche of supporters trying to renew or adhere to the programme and the site crashing time and time again. No-one was reachable on customer support. In addition, there was no info about the re-launch to be found on Palmeiras’ homepage at the time of release (it’s up now) and the old Avanti homepage was still operative. The amateurism of these people never ceases to amaze. Would you believe they even have the nerve to brag about the hash tag “Avanti” being on the international “Trending Topics” list (screen dump to your right)? Thousands and thousands of supporters ventilating their frustrations on twitter and Palmeiras are PROUD for being on the TTs? Please wake me up from this nightmare.

Let’s move on. The first leg of the Copa do Brasil finals was initially scheduled for Wednesday 4 July, but then rescheduled by the Brazilian Football Federation (CBF) to the day after in order not to clash with the Corinthians vs. Boca Juniors Libertadores final. Fair enough. Yesterday, a new re-scheduling was announced, delaying kickoff with 45 minutes, indicating that TV network Globo intends to show the game on their open network and were making adjustments – of course not to their grid but to the game. What about all supporters who now are left without any public transport option for returning home from the remote Barueri arena? Screw’em.

The second leg of the abovementioned finals happens on 11 July. Just like Corinthians, Palmeiras filed a request with the CBF to have their sandwiched game in the Brazilian Championship postponed, thus allowing for a complete focus on the Brazil Cup finals. Corinthians request was granted. Palmeiras’ wasn’t. Did our directors raise hell? Not really. Screw Palmeiras.

Against Grêmio, we saw centre-back Henrique receive the red card in a completely and utterly unjustifiable manner. I mean completely. A more than strong case, if I’ve ever seen one, for successfully challenging the referees decision in the Brazilian Sports Tribunal, the STJD. What does Palmeiras’ legal director Piraci de Oliveira convey to journalists the day before submitting the appeal? “We’ll try to act, show that Henrique isn’t to blame, but it’s difficult. I admit not believing it will happen. It’s difficult, but we’ll try”. With that looser mentality, for sure they’ll screw Palmeiras. If we bring this Brazil Cup title home, it’s in defiance of everything and everyone.

Speaking of Piraci de Oliveira: the man is doing his outmost to redefine “embarrassing”. Not much good seems to be coming out of his legal department but the man is frequently – and especially on social medias like twitter – finding time to voice his opinion about absolutely everything regarding Palmeiras, mock supporters who dare to question him in any way and flirt with young, preferably blond, girls. “Pathetic” doesn’t quite cover it anymore. Adding insult to injury, Mr de Oliveira’s goal seems to be the club’s presidential elections in 2015. Imagine that, dear reader. Are you ready to redefine “screwed”?

AVANTI PALESTRA

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