Will the Brasileirão change? What to expect from Libra, the new Brazilian Football League

It's tough to construct a league that follows European guidelines because of club differences.

Libra, a new league styled after the Premier League, was established on May 3 by Brazilian teams. If it weren’t for the fact that just eight teams signed the treaty, this might be considered a watershed event in Brazilian football.

The vast contrast between the country’s major sporting institutions are highlighted in this episode. The concept of forming their own organization to replace the CBF is appealing and promising, but the road ahead will be difficult. For the time being, the teams’ typical divisiveness proves to be a significant impediment.

Libra overview

The Brazilian Football League (Libra) is a movement aimed at strengthening Brazilian clubs based on international success. The Premier League is the most well-known of them, having sparked a revolution in English football since the early 1990s.

The format of the competitions are not exactly to be altered; the only difference is in the duty for organizing the events and monitoring how the money is distributed in football. The goal is to build a league that is run by the clubs themselves and potentially bring in billions of dollars in sponsorship and income. Thus, the clubs would be in a stronger financial position in the medium term and would be able to compete commercially and sportingly with other sports giants.

The league’s formation seems to be a unanimous decision. The issue is how it will be accomplished. The first legislation was determined by the signing teams.

On the other hand, Forte Futebol, a consortium of 23 clubs made up of players from Serie A and Serie B, do not agree. These organizations aim to modify the regulations.

As we shall see later, the major topic of debate is the formats.

In summary, the following are the current “groups” in the new league debate:

  •       Libra: Botafogo, Bragantino, Corinthians, Cruzeiro, Flamengo, Palmeiras, Ponte Preta, Santos, São Paulo and Vasco.
  •       Strong Football: Athletico, América-MG, Atlético-GO, Avai, Brusque, Ceará, Chapecoense, CSA, CRB, Coritiba, Criciúma, Cuiabá, Fluminense, Fortaleza, Goiás, Juventude, Londrina, Náutico, Operário, Sampaio Corrêa, Sport , Tombense and Vila Nova.
  •   No Side Defined: Atlético-MG, Bahia, Grêmio and Internacional.

Differences between groups

Last Thursday (12), a meeting was scheduled at the CBF headquarters to continue negotiations between the clubs. However, it was canceled and negotiations are at a standstill.

The Forte Futebol group scheduled a meeting for next Monday (16), in Rio de Janeiro, with the aim of formulating a counter-proposal to the signatories of Libra.

The following are the group’s main disagreements.

Division of revenue

Money is now the most significant barrier. The nine clubs that joined up, push for a 40-30-30 split, with 40 percent divided equally among participation, 30 percent divided among performance, and 30 percent divided among involvement.

Forte Futebol opposes this league and defends 50-25-25, the same number as the Premier League. The award differential between first and last would be lower in this situation, which might encourage balance.

At the same time, Libra’s law allocates 15% of earnings to Serie B, which may rise to 20% in the case of a major-league relegation. Several Segundona teams, on the other hand, defend a 25% pass-through.

After teams like Fluminense and Athletico agreed to the proposal, they joined Forte Futebol.

As a result, a common figure will be required to move the discussions forward.

Partnerships

The market was affected by the discussions around the formation of Libra. However, partnerships with investors and interested corporations are a source of contention.

Codajas Sports Kapital (CSK), managed by lawyer Flavio Zveiter and with BTG as an investor, backed the company that signed Libra.

On the other hand, the investment bank XP is interested in forming a collaboration with La Liga in order to attract investors and pass on their experience in other areas, such as technology.

Live Mode and 1190’s partnership also operates overseas. In other words, the new league’s administration does not seem to be a point of agreement, although this appears to be a minor issue.

What to expect from Libra?

Libra might bring Brazilian clubs together. However, this objective is yet to be realized. Two competing groupings have emerged, while several teams are undecided.

Naturally, the most significant barrier is financial, namely television earnings. Rights would be jointly bargained in the new league, making the product stronger. However, without a common set of values, the following stages might be difficult.

If there is no definition, teams are more likely to deal independently with broadcasters. This is detrimental for everyone since it lowers Libra’s worth. At the same time, the market might be under pressure. It’s difficult to predict what to anticipate.

In any event, the present rights do not expire until 2024, leaving two and a half years for conversations to continue. The discord in the first few months, however, is a poor indicator of what this “new reality” in Brazilian football may be.

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