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It was not the best version of Palmeiras, but the team was denied the victory because of two errors from the referee. Against a team that had all their players on the defensive field during the whole game, Palmeiras again struggled to create goal opportunities.

Roger Machado indicated through the week that he could spare some players and so he did: Weverton, Thiago Martins and Moisés replaced Jailson, Edu Dracena and Bruno Henrique respectively in the starting eleven.

As of kick-off, the game perspective was clear: Chapecoense parked the bus and Palmeiras would have to try hard to find space between the opponent’s defensive lines. In the 11th minute, Lucas Lima found that space, the ball reaching Borja behind the defenders. The Colombian scored, but in a very dubious call, the goal was rendered offside.

In the 17th minute, Dudu took a corner but Jandrei saved Thiago Martins header. Two minutes later, Felipe Melo was pushed inside the box while preparing for a header: a more than clear penalty that the referee chose to not award.

Chapecoense had a good opportunity in the 23th minute, Amaral’s header going just wide. Four minutes later, Rafael Thyere scored for Chapecoense, the goal correctly disallowed for offside. Chape kept the pressure up: in the 30th minute, Elicarlos fired from outside the box, but missed the target.

Palmeiras regained control of the game and had a great opportunity in the 37th minute: Moisés passed the ball to Dudu and our captain fired away, to Jandrei’s impressive save. Two minutes later, Felipe Melo’s long-distance shot missed the target. In the 41st minute, Borja blew an unbelievable opportunity from inside the box.

Roger Machado did not make any halftime substitution, but already in the third minute, Felipe Melo felt his left heel and opted out, Thiago Santos taking his place. In the 10th minute, the first good opportunity for Palmeiras: Dudu took a corner and Borja headed the ball over the goalpost.

For much of the remainder, the green and white side did not effectively threaten Jandrei’s goal. Then, in the final 15 minutes, Palmeiras turned up the pressure considerably: in the 33rd minute, Apodi intercepted Thiago Santos closing in on the kill; 38th minute, a dangerous shot from Dudu; 44th minute, Keno crossed the ball firmly but Jandrei blocked it; 47th minute, Antônio Carlos headed into the woodwork.

Finally, in the 49th minute, the pressure paid off: Dudu crossed the ball and Antônio Carlos headed it into the back of the net, only to have the goal disallowed due to a non-existing offside. Frustration aplenty as the referee blew his whistle to end the game. Impossible not to compare to the parallel Atlético Mineiro vs Corinthians, where Atlético opened up the scorecard but Corinthians did their habitual routine of pestering the referee enough for him to change his ruling after close to two minutes, alleging a hand ball. In Brazil, VAR is fully implemented, but only for a selected few. 
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Palmeiras remain unbeaten in the Brazilian Championship and this goalless tie takes the team to five points, parked in 7th place in the tables (could drop to 9th, should today’s Santos vs Vasco not end in a draw and América Mineiro beat Vitória). After three rounds, the table has Flamengo on top at 7 points, followed by Corinthians and Atlético Mineiro, both at 6.

Players now return their attention to the Libertadores Cup, where Alianza Lima await in Peru on Thursday. Palmeiras already classified to the knockout phase, Roger Machado aims for the best campaign possible in order to secure a second leg home advantage.

Scoppia che la vittoria è nostra!

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by Augusto Anteghini Oazi

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The Paulistão 2018 final initiated a backstage war between Palmeiras and the São Paulo Football Federation (FPF) still far from its end.

In short, the sequence of events includes Palmeiras issuing a note, announcing the break with the Federation; the release of a video, showing the external influence in the game against Corinthians; and the club’s request for a formal investigation at the São Paulo Court of Justice for Sports (TJD-SP). The FPF responded by returning the box at the Federation’s disposal at the Allianz Parque.

For considerable time, Palmeiras supporters have demanded a firmer position from the Club concerning the frequent referee errors. Thus, in this case, they stand united, backing all decisions so far taken by the directors, including the no-show at SporTV’s Segunda Campeã after the game against Botafogo. On social media, it is common to see supporters advocating that the club do not dispute the 2019 São Paulo state Championship, or alternatively, line-up nothing but the U20 squad.

Opting out of the Paulistão would not be an easy decision. Even though most state championships are experiencing nothing short of a crisis, the São Paulo edition brings significant revenues to the clubs. Let us have a look at the numbers for 2018.

Broadcasting rights
The broadcasting rights of the Paulistão carry the highest price tag among all the state championships. In 2018, Rede Globo, through the PFP, distributed R$20 million to each of the big four (Palmeiras, Corinthians, São Paulo and, oh well, Santos) in the state.

Although the contract between the broadcaster and the Federation has never been disclosed in its entirety, it is considered “common knowledge” that clubs must play the championship with their main squad to receive their share.

Six of Palmeiras’ games were broadcasted on free-to-air television. In total, these games reached 187 rating points, as measured by IBOPE, corresponding to 13.4 million televisions tuned in. No Palmeiras sponsor would like give up such expressive brand exposure.
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Paulistao - table1

Rating points, Palmeiras games on free-to-air television

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Ticketing
Palmeiras had nine home games in the Paulistão 2018: eight at the Allianz Parque and one at the Pacaembu (semi-final against Santos). The Verdão headed both attendance and revenue rankings, with an average 31.399 supporters per game and a gross ticketing income of R$18 million and a net income of R$ 11.5 million.
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Paulistao - table2

Palmeiras gross ticketing revenues, Paulistão 2018

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Prize money
The Paulistão hands out the biggest prize among the state championships: R$5 million to the champions and R$1.6 million to the runners-up (Palmeiras, in this case).

Adding up the numbers
Palmeiras’ net revenues from this year’s edition of the Paulistão, comprised of broadcasting rights, ticketing and prize money, surpasses R$ 33 million. This corresponds to roughly 5% of Palmeiras’ annual gross income and would pay a full month’s worth of expenses generated by the club’s professional football department. Not at all negligible.

If opting out of the Paulistão, part of the revenues could be recovered through a pre-season tour, adding to the ticketing of the U20 team competing in the state championship. Still, Palmeiras would hardly reach the R$33 million mark.

What about the Federation?
From the Paulistão, the FPF receives 7% of gross ticketing revenues from the big 4 and 6% from the other 12 participating clubs. This arrangement brought the Federation a total of R$ 3.3 million this year. In the chart below, we can see that a whopping 38% of these revenues originate from Palmeiras; it would certainly be a hard blow to the Federation should it lose its primary source of ticketing income.
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Paulistao - table3

FPF ticketing revenues, 2018 São Paulo State championship

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Furthermore, add to this the damage to the Federation’s reputation, potentially reducing the value sponsors are willing to pay for the Paulistão. One of the biggest teams refusing to play the championship is not a minor issue and should not be underestimated. Palmeiras’ refusal could signal the beginning of the end of the Federation, as we know it today.

The hearing that took place last Tuesday is a clear indicator that Palmeiras are not bluffing. The club wishes to bring the truth out. The Federation should prepare for acknowledging its errors and aid in the quest for transparency. We have seen nothing of the sort so far and, to be frank, odds are small, very small.

With the backing of their supporters, Palmeiras are in a position to play hardball. Stay tuned.

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by Augusto Anteghini Oazi

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