Last Tuesday (31), it leaked in the press that the president of the Clube de Regatas Flamengo, Luiz Rodolfo Landim, had said he would work to help president Jair Bolsonaro (no party) in a possible campaign for re-election in 2022, with donations and votes.
The reciprocity seems to be true. To interlocutors in Brasília (DF), the president has already expressed his desire to have the Flamengo candidate as a vice-presidential candidate on his ticket, in 2022.
:: Bolsonaro used four of the last six working days to call for September 7 acts ::
It was not the first time that Landim publicly demonstrated his proximity to Bolsonaro and his ideals. Driven by the president of the Chamber of Deputies, Arthur Lira (PP-AL), the so-called “Mandante Law” was approved, in just over a month of processing, by the two legislative houses. In late August, the text passed through the Senate, and is now awaiting presidential approval.
The proposal, which was sent by Bolsonaro after a lunch with Landim, authorizes the home clubs to negotiate the broadcasting rights of their matches directly with the television stations. The project is yet another stage in the fight between the President of the Republic against TV Globo, the exclusive holder of the broadcast of the Brazilian Football Championship.
If the law passes, TV Globo would have to negotiate with each club the broadcasting rights, inflating the market and leaving open the possibility of other stations broadcasting the national championship.
In Brasília, in the hands of Flamengo’s director of institutional relations, Aleksander Silvino dos Santos, club shirts circulate between the cabinets of pocket-spirited parliamentarians and ministers.
Santos took the former head of the Ministry of Justice and Public Security, Sérgio Moro, to see Flamengo’s match at the Mané Garrincha stadium, in Brasília, where the Rio club plays some of its games. Congressman Rodrigo Amorim (PSL-RJ), who broke Marielle Franco’s license plate, received a customized club T-shirt with his name.
:: Bolsonaro closed working hours before 6 pm on 85% of Fridays in 2021 ::
Hélio Lopes (no party-RJ), a friend of Bolsonaro and an extra on the president’s various agendas, also received a t-shirt. Vice-president Hamilton Mourão was honored by the club and received the honorary title from Flamengo, at an event in Gávea, the team’s headquarters.
During the pandemic, Flamengo is the Brazilian club that most defends the opening of stadiums to fans. Controversial measure, in a country with almost 600 thousand deaths per covid and with an average of 600 deaths per day, due to the disease. The measure has the support of President Bolsonaro.
“We have to get back to life, folks. Smiling, joking, playing. Return the audience to the football stadiums as soon as possible, whichever is a smaller amount, 20% or 30%, of the stadium’s capacity”, said Bolsonaro live, on his social networks, on January 29 of this year.
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The World Health Organization (WHO) decreed the coronavirus pandemic on March 11, 2020. Three months later, football was suspended in the country. Dissatisfied with the measure, Flamengo faced the virus and went back to training clandestinely, hidden from the city hall and the government of Rio de Janeiro, which had banned the activities.
The management, not the club
Asked if the current direction has been leading the club towards the club, journalist Juca Kfouri replied: “Without a doubt. It is clear that Landim, as an individual, has every right to support whoever he wants. Involving Flamengo in this is absurd and a shot in the foot, because Flamengo’s fans are divided as the Brazilian electorate is divided.”
Kfouri states that “no president can associate the club he defends with a politician or a party”. “He (Landim) thinks that associating Flamengo with Bolsonaro is appallingly naive. You can associate Flamengo with ideas, which is what he is doing, unfortunately. Landim is a scoundrel, a guy who once told me that he was a good friend of Dilma Rousseff and he’s nothing.”
::Splits and Cracks::
Professor at the Fluminense Federal University (UFF), head of the UFF History Institute and researcher of the History of Sport, Renato Coutinho also separates the Flemish crowd, the country’s biggest fan base, from Landim’s purposes.
“Flamengo’s current board has an ideological proximity to Bolsonaro, I agree. But the club is made up of a fan member, a heritage member, ordinary fans and an organized fan. Only there, in this group of political actors, do we not find homogeneity”, explains Coutinho.
The researcher recalls that “just as Bolsonaro wears Flamengo’s shirt, so does Freixo” and that the club, like others, is always in dispute. However, Coutinho ponders that if the government has used Flamengo, the opposite also occurs.
“So, we are talking about Flamengo’s board. I can’t guarantee you Flamengo’s ideological composition. But, as you have highlighted, in all the examples, it is evident that Flamengo got closer to the Bolsonaro government”, argues Coutinho.
“In relation to the guidelines that the current administration defends, in relation to the principal’s law, the opening of the stadium, in short, this is in the interest of the current direction of Flamengo. It seems to me more like Flamengo using the prestige of the current board with the government to build its agenda. Whether this is virtuous or not, whether this is good for the club, is another matter”, he concludes.
Edition: Lucas Weber