Posts Tagged ‘itaqueirão’

la_piovraLa Piovra is an Italian television drama miniseries, first aired in 1984, about the Mafia. With the soundtrack signed by Riz Ortolani and later by Ennio Morricone, it was a big success in many countries, including Sweden.

Piovra is Italian for octopus, or squid: here, a reference to the far-reaching tentacles of organized crime. In Portuguese, octopus is polvo, while squid is lula. Like in former Brazilian President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva.

Before we continue, I strongly urge you to refresh your mind reading a post named “Connect the dots”, published here at Anything Palmeiras in 2010. Fundamentally important background information, that is.


The “Operation Car Wash” (Operação Lava Jato in Portuguese) is an investigation being carried out by the Federal Police of Brazil since March 2014. Initially a money laundering investigation, it has expanded to cover allegations of corruption at the state-controlled oil company Petrobras, where it is alleged that executives accepted bribes in return for awarding contracts to construction firms at inflated prices. The operation has included the enforcement of more than a hundred warrants for search and seizure, temporary and preventive detention and coercive measures, with the aim of ascertaining a money-laundering scheme suspected of moving more than 10 Billion Brazilian Reais (approx. USD 2.5 Billion in today’s exchange rate). Several ramifications have been discovered and investigations progress fast as more and more of arrested top executives reach plea bargain deals, allowing police to move in on major players that, until now, have enjoyed not pro forma but de facto criminal immunity: politicians.

This morning, former Brazilian President Lula’ house was raided by federal police agents. Lula himself was brought in for questioning, as was a few of his family members. Police say they have strong indications Lula has been involved in the scheme of overcharging contracts with Petrobras, using the money to pay for bribes and electoral campaigns. In addition, Police say Lula received additional and personal benefits from the kickback scheme, amounting to several million Brazilian Reais, channelled through his non-profit organization “Instituto Lula”, companies under his domain, and companies owned by his sons and other close allies.

A high-level political profile like Lula being taken in for questioning is of course huge, especially in Brazil. Still, it does not come as a surprise: federal police and judges involved in the case are doing tremendous good work, methodically closing the net. Considering the magnitude of the corruption scandal – with proven direct involvement of key persons within the Government, the Worker’s Party (PT) and other parties in the Congress – the “I knew nothing” approach deployed by both Lula and current President Dilma Rousseff has long lost credibility.

Back to the ramifications, the construction companies, and the 2010 “Connect the dots” article. No, you do not get a prize for realizing that Odebrecht, the company awarded the construction of Corinthians’ “Itaqueirão” stadium, is one of the deepest involved in the corruption scandal (CEO Marcelo Odebrecht has been under arrest since June 2015). For example, Police says Odebrecht has transferred large amounts to Lula’s son Luis Cláudio da Silva’s enterprises, making Luis Cláudio yet another focal point of investigation. “Lulinha” (little Lula), who at one point was actually working [sic] at Corinthians as a “marketing strategist”…

Anyone is of course innocent until proven guilt. Stay tuned.


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moneypigThe normally reliable Verdazzo website yesterday brought an important piece of news: Palmeiras have been granted a substantial loan and on very favourable terms. In fact, the financial package was tailored some time ago in agreement with a financial institution, but not until last week did the arrangement also pass the needle’s eye of the club’s Fiscal Council. With this, Palmeiras will receive a considerable amount in two instalments, allowing the club to renegotiate short-term debts, equip the new buildings constructed by WTorre around the Allianz Parque, and enter as a major player in the upcoming transfer window.

The arrangement was possible due to the Nobre administration’s sound financial management, solid proposal and good professional contacts. But equally important – albeit far less glamorous – was Paulo Nobre’s pragmatic approach to maintaining dialoguing with key players within the club’s political structure, however revolting some of them come across. Without this dialogue, in a certain way making them part of the process, the arrangement would most likely have been shot down. Instead, Palmeiras take one more important step toward the shift of paradigms we all dream of.

— ooo —

Dreams… Of which some turn into nightmares, at least for our rivals. How else could a corintiano describe his feelings when learning that the concrete of the shamefully government-funded “Itaqueirão” stadium in part consists of recycled concrete from the Palestra Italia? Corintianos, who gladly would change the colour of grass if they could, will soon step on Palestra concrete every time they enter “their own” stadium. Nothing short of glorious.

— ooo —

It’s easy to forget, but a championship is also taking place. As mentioned before, the challenge is keeping motivation up. Last Saturday against América/RN was a complete failure in that sense: the  vast superiority in the first half didn’t translate into goals and the second half was a dish served cold, with Kleina’s strange coaching options on the side. A goalless draw at the Pacaembu against one of the second division’s weaker sides is unacceptable. Yesterday (Tuesday) night, against Oeste and the terrible pitch in Rio Preto, Palmeiras comfortably won 2-0 after goals by Leandro and Serginho. With 59 points and twelve rounds to go, Palmeiras are drawing very close to their virtual ascension, as fifth-placed Joinville are 17 points behind. Considering the current scenario, 65 points should suffice save a spectacular comeback by the team from Santa Catarina.

— ooo —

Following a decision by the always present Supreme Tribunal for Sports (STJD) to punish the club after a fight on 27 July between members of two main supporter groups at the Dario Rodrigues Leite stadium minutes before the game against Guaratinguetá, Palmeiras play their coming two home games far from the capital. The club has chosen the Café stadium in Londrina to stage the games against Figueirense on 8 October and Guaratinguetá on 11 October. Before that, on Saturday 5 October, Palmeiras travel to Natal to take on ABC at the Frasqueirão stadium.

— ooo —

Speaking of the STJD: Flamengo player Elias admitted to provoking a third yellow card – on direct orders from the coach – in a recent game against Santos. Remember Valdivia receiving a two-game suspension by the STJD for the exact same “breach”? Well, Elias was “punished” by the STJD with a one game suspension, which he of course already had served due to the third booking. It’s getting old but needs repeating over and over again. The STJD is nothing but a joke. A biased, bad joke.

Scoppia che la vittoria è nostra!

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Bedtime stories put the innocent to sleep. Then there are stories that leave you awake for long hours, have you thinking “how on earth is this allowed to go on?”.

We’ve been through parts of it before. Remember, connecting the dots? Well, fool if you think it’s over.

The Federal Government is discretely preparing a new so called “temporary measure”: a law with a short expire date (although it can be renewed), that takes effect immediately and doesn’t pass through Congress. The law in question cancels 90% of Brazilian football club’s federal debts; these are mainly composed of employers’ fees, contributions to the pension system, that sort of things.

The proposal to create this temporary measure was presented by a member of the same party as former president Luiz Ignácio Lula da Silva, who is not only an outspoken and hardcore corintiano, but also one of the mentors behind the Itaqueirão stunt.
It’s bad enough that
irresponsible management leads to “awards” in terms of tax breaks, depriving society of revenues. But that’s only half the story. Not all clubs are in debt. And among those that are, differences are striking. Which club is in the deepest pit? Corinthians, by a mile, closing in on the US$ 65 million mark as these lines are being written.

According to Luís Fernando Tredinnick, weekly columnist at the 3VV website, Corinthians’ debt with the Federal Government doubled between 2010 and 2011, then almost doubled again in 2012. No other club shows a similar pattern. Forgive us for asking, but what kind of information did Corinthians have that no other club had?

On top of this, the Caixa Econômica Federal, one of the Government’s most important financial institutions, recently closed a US$ 15 million-a-year sponsorship deal with Corinthians.

Coincidences just keep piling up, now don’t they?

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Construction on the already infamous “Itaquerão” stadium destined for Corinthians the opening of the 2014 World Cup can halt at any moment due to uncertainties regarding the financing. The Federal Government is already sketching up a Plan B: move the inauguration game to Brasilia.

engenhãoIn Rio de Janeiro, local authorities yesterday declared the João Havelange stadium, commonly known as the Engenhão, closed until further notice. The stadium, built between 2004 and 2007, has been deemed structurally unsafe: strong winds have weakened the roofing.  While the Maracaná stadium undergoes its complete renovation, the Engenhão has been Rio de Janeiros’ main arena. The big four now scramble to find solutions: Fluminense have already announced they are taking their Libertadores games to Vasco’s São Genoário stadium.

In the meantime, Palmeiras’ New Arena is quietly materialising, centimetre by centimetre. With roughly 68 per cent of works concluded, Latin America’s most modern multi-purpose stadium is coming true without any public money or tax breaks, only through private investments.

The progress of the construction can be followed in detail on the official hotsite of the New Arena (also available in English), as well as on several blogs and forums, for example the Pró Palmeiras, La Nostra Casa, Blog da Arena Palestra Itália and the Skyscraper City thread. What follows below is something different and very modest, a few personal reflections based on a visit* conducted to the construction site at the end of 2012.

Clean - within the possible limits of a large construction site.

Clean – within the possible limits of a large construction site.


Organised – supplies and equipment stacked in an orderly fashion left and right.

Environmentally sound - trees and plants standing green and strong just meters from the concrete being raised.

Environmentally sound – trees and plants standing green and strong just meters from the concrete being raised.

Transparent - constant evaluation of suppliers by use of a large matrix pinned to the wall.

Transparent – constant evaluation of suppliers by use of a large matrix pinned to the wall.

Good mannered - it's a "good afternoon" or a slight nod from EVERY worker we meet.

Good mannered – it’s a “good afternoon” or a slight nod from EVERY worker we meet.

Safe - bright vests, helmets, protection glasses, boots, gloves, harnesses... It's all there.

Safe – bright vests, helmets, protection glasses, boots, gloves, harnesses… It’s all there.

Respectful - as this quote illustrates: "While working the shifts, all are Palmeiras. Whatever they are outside of working hours is their own business. But in here, they are Palmeiras."

Respectful – as this quote illustrates: “While working the shifts, all are Palmeiras. Whatever they are outside of working hours is their own business. But in here, they are Palmeiras.”

To round things off, a few bonus pictures. And never forget: Scoppia che la vittoria è nostra!






* My very special “thank you” to the marvelous people at DSM, and especially Daniela, granting me access to the construction site and a guided tour. 

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