The end of another year of football in Brazil exposed the putrid state of every element of the game. This video explains some of it:
The Vasco x Atletico Paranaense match was held in the city of Joinville in Santa Catarina State because Altético´s stadium is under construction, and massively delayed, for the World Cup. Vasco needed to win in order to avoid relegation, but their team is so devoid of talent that staying in the first division another year would have been a sporting injustice. Why are Vasco so bad? Anyone out there remember Phillipe Coutinho, now starring in midfield for Liverpool? Ex-Vasco, he was sold to A.C. Milan on the day he turned 18. Vasco´s youth system has been condemned in the courts and the few times they do manage to produce talent, the boys are sold off to the highest bidder. This is same reason for which Fluminense was relegated. They decided to sell their two best players, Wellinton Nem and Thiago Neves, in mid season and brought no one in to replace them. The political-economy of Brazilian football continues to benefit agents and directors at the expense of clubs and fans.
However, the causes for the scenes above have much deeper roots than just the emptying of talent pools and managerial incompetence (read: Vanderlei Luxemburgo). The torcidas organizadas have long standing relationships with club directors. This is not new or surprising in Latin America. However, the fact that there had been violence between the torcidas of Vasco and Atletico PR and that the Military Police decided not to patrol inside the stadium, leaving it up to a private security force, on a day when the Torcida Jovem of Vasco was likely to be at its most aggressive because of the impending relegation…that is another kind of violence in and of itself. The inability of the state to anticipate pre-announced conflicts or of the responsible football authorities to ensure the safe realization of a game is exactly the kind of violence through absence that has as its inevitable counterpoint a boot in the face and a nail-tipped club in the head. Violence permeates Brazilian football at all levels so why are we so surprised when it breaks out in the stands?
Naturally, in Brazil, no one is going to assume responsibility for any of this. The clubs cannot be held responsible for their permissive relationships with the torcidas, the PM´s hands off attitude may be criticized but not investigated, the CBF is tone deaf, blind and unmoving. The only thing that will happen is that both Vasco and Atletico will receive punishments of short duration that will not significantly alter the status quo.
A number of important Brazilian footballers have started a movement to reform Brazilian football from the inside. Good Sense F.C. is calling for a reorganization of the football calendar and for a declaration of labor rights for football players. They issued a note regarding yesterday´s violence saying all culpable parties should be found out. This includes the CBF, the Military Police, the private security firm in charge of the internal policing, the emergency personnel, the board of directors of both clubs and the torcidas organizadas.