England, Brazil friendly for money, not football
Football sold its soul a long time ago with hyper-commercialism beginning as early as the 1950s. But surely England’s upcoming friendly with Brazil is one step too far?
Fabio Capello has just selected a strong squad to travel to Doha.
But with both teams having already qualified for it, and not lacking for match practice with the European season (where all the players are based) in full swing, one wonders why this match is taking place.
Dollars. Lots and lots of it. And a big favour that needs repaying.
That is what football has been reduced to, money and favours.
The match was arranged to repay the £1.2 million debt the English FA incurred to have Brazil play in the inaugural friendly at Wembley, which was part of the “Brazil World Tour” organised by Kentaro.
What other reason could bring a European and South American team to the 30 degree heat of Doha in November? The sponsors of the CBF (Brazilian Football Federation) and the English FA, they are the other part in this equation.
Brazil is tied up to an extremely lucrative long term contract with Nike.
What began as a $100 million, 10 year contract has since skyrocketed, the last raise coming just last year when the FFF (French Football Association) encouraged a bidding war between Adidas, Puma and Nike, which resulted in Nike winning the right to kit the French national team for the ludicrous sum of €42.6 million (AUD $68.75 million) per year.
Ricardo Teixeira, head of the CBF, used as an excuse to jack up the going rate for Nike as the France deal was worth almost three times as much as what Brazil were receiving.
Nike also sponsors more than half of the Brazil team, including Robinho and Elano, as well as England’s star striker Rooney, and such exposure on the feet of the heroes of a generation is worth every cent to Nike.
England, too, has a pretty handy sponsor on board with Umbro, a Nike subsidiary. Their shirt deal, which runs until at least 2014, is reportedly worth more than £20 million (AUD $36.25 million) per year for the English FA.
So we have two FAs with contracts – eight-figure contracts – just to have a logo on a kit. Money for nothing? No, there’s no such thing as a free lunch.
Just look at the advertising campaigns of Nike. That is what the millions of these kit sponsors buy, access to international superstars and that is one of the main reasons a match like this takes place, pitting world superstars from different federations against one another normally only happens in a World Cup.
Once every four years is not enough for the fat-cats of the FAs.
That is why no international window goes unused and these friendly matches get put into an already bulging schedule. This will be England’s eleventh fixture of the season and their fifth friendly.
Capello might claim it is “important” to play a team like Brazil, and yes the preparation for WC2010 might be valuable, but he isn’t fooling anyone.
That he is now a mere media-puppet of the English FA is sad indeed.
No-one in power is thinking of the players here.
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