Brazilian players promise more protests

Brazilian players say they are planning more protests against

the national federation if changes are not made to the country’s

jammed football calendar.

All players in the seven Brazilian league matches on Wednesday

crossed their arms for several moments at the start of the games to

show their discontentment with the federation, saying officials

haven’t taken their demands seriously.

Corinthians defender Paulo Andre, one of the leaders of the

movement called ”Common Sense Football Club,” said the players

won’t stop protesting until they see that the federation is

committed to make changes in the coming years.

”We will escalate the protests if the federation doesn’t

respond to our demands,” Paulo Andre told reporters early

Thursday. ”This is historic for Brazilian football. Players know

what they are doing and they know the importance of this movement.

They are engaged.”

The players say a more organized calendar is key to improving

football in Brazil. They argue that a season with teams playing

fewer matches will lead to improved quality on the field and

increased attendance. The players’ demands include adequate

vacation time, longer preseasons and giving players more influence

in major decisions. They also want punishment for teams that don’t

pay salaries on time and complain of the influence of television

rights holders.

Although players haven’t said how they plan to protest in the

coming matches, local media said they will likely increase the time

they stay with their arms crossed during matches. There’s also been

talk they might enter the matches wearing clown noses.

On Wednesday, players refused to kick off and crossed their arms

after the referee’s whistle in some of the matches, while others

put the ball in play before stopping and staying motionless. In one

of the matches, the protest happened before the whistle because of

threats that every player on the field would be shown a yellow

card.

To keep from being punished, players in the match between Sao

Paulo and Flamengo started kicking the ball back and forth from one

team to the other, exchanging passes for almost a minute.

Players also entered the matches carrying banners that read

”For a better football for everyone” and ”CBF friends, where’s

the common sense?”

The movement began last month with players from both teams

huddling at midfield before every match, without causing any

disruption.

The Brazilian federation, known locally as CBF, met with the

players a few weeks ago and said it would take all of their demands

into consideration when preparing the new calendars. But players

said they want concrete actions now to guarantee the changes

actually happen in the future.

Messages to the Brazilian federation were not immediately

answered on Thursday.

CBF officials say little can be done for next year because the

World Cup will shorten the season.

”We understand the problems in the 2014 calendar and we accept

making a concession there, but if nothing is done for 2015 we

likely won’t be playing that year,” Paulo Andre said. ”It makes

no sense to go against this movement. The only thing they can do is

punish all 20 team and all players. This is important for football,

everybody knows that things must improve.”

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