A group of 75 Brazilian players have called on the Brazilian Football Confederation (CBF) to review the calendar for the season surrounding the 2014 FIFA World Cup amid fears of burnout due to the volume of games scheduled.
The group, which includes at least 18 former and current Brazil internationals such as Alexandre Pato of Corinthians, Vasco da Gama’s Juninho Pernambucano and Luis Fabiano of Sao Paulo, have written to the CBF stating that “extremely necessary” changes are needed. “Due to the short period of time proposed for (pre-season) preparations and the high number of games to be played without a break we decided to get together to discuss ways of improving the quality of the spectacle we present for millions of supporters,” the players wrote in an open letter to the CBF.
Brazil’s domestic calendar is a congested one with state championships added to the Campeonato Brasileiro, Copa do Brasil and continental competitions such as the Copa Libertadores. The CBF released the schedule for 2014 last week, with the season due to begin on January 12 with state championship matches and run through until mid-December. League games will be halted for a month due to the World Cup, with clubs being asked to play more matches in midweek to compensate. “The calendar is very tight due to the World Cup, a competition which is extremely important in the world,” said Atletico Mineiro midfielder Gilberto Silva, according to GloboEsporte.com. “But on the other hand, we athletes in Brazil, we cannot be harmed by the competition. This competition happens when everyone is on holiday in other countries. The clubs organise themselves better out there, unlike here.”
The protest come amid growing unease at the traditional Brazilian calendar with many clubs and players calling on the CBF to align their schedule more closely with Europe’s August-to-May program to minimise disruption. Brazil’s Sports Minister Aldo Rebelo in May called for a revamp of the calendar in order for the domestic game to better compete with European leagues.