Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Brazil Squad Selection Sold to Marketing Partner in 2006, Alleges Estadao Report

VIA: A stunning report in Sao Paulo-based newspaper Estadao (in Portuguese) suggests the selection of the Brazilian national team has been influenced by commercial partners since 2006. With this in mind, players are reportedly chosen on "reputation and marketability," per Arash Hekmat of the Daily Mirror.

As noted by ESPN FC, the Brazilian football federation (CBF) is alleged to have agreed "a multimillion dollar secret contract" with marketing company International Sport Events. Hekmat notes the firm is a subsidiary of Saudi Arabian company Dallah Al-Baraka, which is registered in the Cayman Islands.

Estadao's report alleges national coaches are obligated to include a certain number of "A Team" stars in every selection, including meaningless friendlies. This is detailed in a document reported by the newspaper, per ESPN FC: "CBF will guarantee and ensure that A Team players that are playing in official competitions will participate in any and every match."

It also suggested that squad withdrawals due to injury must be accompanied by an official doctor's note and agreed with ISE, who require a top-class replacement to step in.

ESPN FC passed along a summary by Estadao of the guidelines for replacing players: "Any changes to the list shall be communicated in writing to ISE and confirmed by mutual accord. In this case, CBF will endeavor to substitute new players of a similar level in relation to marketing value, technical ability and reputation."

ISE, alongside two other companies, are also said to have been in charge of arranging Brazil's friendly matches since the contract began nine years ago, as reported by Hekmat.

"All broadcasting rights and copyrights are under full control of the Cayman-based company," notes ESPN FC's report, which states the CBF is eligible to pay a fine if selection demands aren't met. It is suggested the current agreement runs until 2022.

CBF denies the newspaper report and suggests it promotes "unfounded suspicions," as transcribed by ESPN FC. The governing body's tweet can be seen below (in Portuguese):

Such allegations could be used to raise doubts as to why certain players did not feature at the 2014 World Cup. Atletico Madrid defender Miranda, Paris Saint-Germain forward Lucas Moura and Liverpool playmaker Philippe Coutinho were all high-profile exclusions.

Current Brazil coach Dunga recently used friendly matches against France and Chile to provide a number of potential stars with an opportunity on the international stage. An improving Coutinho appeared, as did Hoffenheim's Roberto Firmino and Shakhtar Donetsk hitman Luiz Adriano. All have enjoyed quality seasons in Europe.

Estadao's report comes less than month before the start of Copa America. Dunga's squad mixes flair with functionality and appears to pick most players on recent form, but the newspaper's assertions will no doubt force many to consider whether he has been influenced in some way.

Estadao's report is yet to be proven true, particularly following the CBF's response; however, just one year after Brazil hosted the World Cup, many supporters may question whether Luiz Felipe Scolari, Dunga and the nation's previous bosses have assumed total control in their position.

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