Flamengo making plans for YouTube game in face of Globo resistance
Flamengo, the top Brazilian soccer club, plans to proceed with the transmission of a Rio state championship game on its YouTube channel this week despite opposition from commercial broadcasting giant Globo.
There is no broadcasting rights deal for Flamengo’s fixtures in the Campeonato Carioca but, citing a provisional measure announced by Brazilian president Jair Balsonaro on 18 June and assuming there is no judicial impediment, the club plans to show Wednesday’s home fixture against Boavista free-to-air on FlaTV.
It will be one of the first professional matches to be played in Brazil since the soccer season resumed this month after a delay caused by the coronavirus pandemic.
Balsonaro’s measure states that rights to a soccer match in Brazil now rest with the home team, representing a break with the Pelé Law of 1998, which decreed that both participating teams needed to be in agreement for it to be televised live.
In a statement on Friday, Flamengo said: “It is a milestone for Brazilian football. With the MP (provisional measure), all clubs, in addition to strengthening themselves, will gain more negotiating power, and will be able to take more actions for their fans.
“We are working to offer a high level broadcast to our fans. This transmission represents the democratisation of the presentation. We are happy to bring this joy to the fans in a moment of so much adversity.”
However, Globo, which holds rights to the Carioca until 2024 under deals with the 15 other participating clubs, including Boavista, and FERJ, the Rio state football federation, has insisted that the new measure does not impact on existing deals and that, if necessary, it is prepared to go to court to defend its rights.
Both Flamengo and Globo have approached the courts to seek clarification of the situation before Wednesday’s match.
It was reported last week that, in its legal complaint, Globo was seeking a R$2 million ($369,000) fine for Flamengo if the club showed the game itself.
Assuming this week’s match is streamed on YouTube, the Rio outfit will be hopeful of a sizeable audience given that a peak of almost 1 million simultaneous viewers tuned in for the game against Portuguesa in March, which was shown on FlaTV in a one-off arrangement with Globo.
Flamengo is one of the most popular clubs in Brazil, claiming to have between 30 million and 35 million fans.
The dispute with Globo is taking place against the backdrop of controversy over whether soccer should have resumed in Brazil given the gravity of the ongoing pandemic.
Ahead of their Carioca match against Cabofriense on Sunday, the players of Botafogo displayed a banner stating ‘The Best Protocol is Respecting Lives’.
The Rio state championship resumed behind closed doors on 18 June with Bangu playing Flamengo but other matches were delayed by a week following a decree by Rio mayor Marcelo Crivella.
On Friday, Paulo Autori, the coach of Botafogo, was banned for two weeks for calling the state federation directors “feudal,” and, in a joint statement, the players of Fluminense, also opposed to the restart, said it “made no sense.”
More than 57,000 people have lost their lives due to Covid-19 in Brazil, a total surpassed only by USA, and around 1,000 deaths are still being reported each day.
Outside Rio, the other state championships have yet to announce resumption dates but, subject to government approval, the CBF, the Brazilian soccer confederation, has proposed a start date of 9 August for the Campeonato Brasileiro Serie A, the top national league.
Flamengo won the treble of Carioca, Campeonato Brasileiro and South America's Copa Libertadores in 2019.