Evolution of Cruzeiro as a company inaugurates a new order in Brazilian football

The purchase of Cruzeiro SAF, the joint-stock company founded to play Raposa football, by Ronaldo Fenômeno was the great story in Brazilian football at the conclusion of the year.

The purchase of Cruzeiro SAF, the joint-stock company founded to play Raposa football, by Ronaldo Fenômeno was the great story in Brazilian football at the conclusion of the year. The football great returned to the club that first discovered him, but this time as an owner.

The Football Anonymous Society was established by Law 14.193/2021, which allowed for this arrangement (SAF). This technique makes it easier for football teams to become corporations, which has a number of advantages, including the ability to attract new investors.

Since then, there has been a lot of hope about the clubs’ futures, and many of them are already taking steps to make this happen. The vast majorities are currently non-profit organizations, but with the transformation into SAF, which removes football from the social aspect, they can adopt a business management model.

This gap is crucial since it allows your administration to become more professional. The SAF requires more advanced governance and medium and long-term thinking, rather than leaders who think about re-election and have minimal responsibility for their actions. This revolution in Brazilian football is expected to be a success.

Although other clubs, such as Cuiabá and Red Bull Bragantino, already operate as businesses, Cruzeiro was the first in Brazil to do so. Because it is a new concept, there are certain to be some reservations. Many fans, on the other hand, see a light at the end of the tunnel for their favorite team.

How will the Cruzeiro SAF by Ronaldo work

Cruzeiro SAF’s formation aids in understanding how Brazilian football clubs will operate. The Law, which established the required regulations and rules for this transformation, was the first step. Then the necessity to alter the statute to accommodate the new paradigm arose.

The club’s General Assembly approved the bylaws revision on December 17, allowing for the sale of 90% of the club’s SAF, which was established the same month.

Previously, the text only allowed for the sale of 49% of the stock, effectively keeping him as the dominant shareholder in any case.

Each club can choose the percentage they want to give up, but investors aren’t interested in low percentages since they need autonomy to make the required changes.

Furthermore, only one investor is required to purchase the shares, which can be divided into parts.

Ronaldo was declared as the new owner of Cruzeiro SAF the next day (18). Tara Sports, a business founded by Fenômeno with offices in Madrid and which was also utilized to purchase Real Valladolid from Spain, would make the investment.

Investment of R$400 million in the club

Ronaldo did not purchase Cruzeiro for R$400 million, as some outlets claimed. At the very least, not all at the same time. Although not all contract terms have been made public, the money has not yet been paid and will be invested over the following few years.

As a result, Ronaldo Fenômeno’s financial contribution via his company isn’t merely for the purpose of hiring millionaire reinforcements. In fact, the funds will be used to restructure the football department’s finances, which are plagued by off-field issues.

Tara Sports will also be responsible for the club’s debt, which is close to R$1 billion. The Law provides for means to settle debts, notwithstanding the fact that the sums are still linked to the organization. Under the new guidelines, the club must get 20% of its income and 50% of its profits and dividends in order to pay down its obligations.

The formation of the Centralized Execution Regime (RCE), which unifies labor and civil debts and allows them to be renegotiated, was another feature of the law. There is a six-year payment period, which can be extended for another four years provided 60 percent of the loan is paid off during that time.

Benefits of the new law

One of the SAF’s main concerns in management is the tax load. The clubs were exempt from some taxes (IRPJ, CSLL, and Cofins) and paid others at reduced rates because they were non-profit organizations (INSS and PIS). They would have to pay these taxes just like any other company in order to become a corporation.

The situation has changed since the introduction of S/A in football. SAF will charge a flat rate of 5% on gross revenue for the first five years, excluding player sales.

Following then, the rate reduces to 4%, but player sales are credited to the account.

Other advantages for this form of business include a lower risk of liens or revenue blocking, as well as the ability to file for bankruptcy protection. At the same time, the

Brazilian Securities Commission (CVM) regulates newly formed corporations, increasing their transparency.

Other clubs are considering adopting the model

SAF did not invent the club-company model in Brazilian football, but it is a friendlier one than the others. That is why Cuiabá, a business club, has already embraced it — we will discuss it later.

With the law in place, Brazil becomes a more appealing market for both domestic and foreign investors. Football is a market that generates a lot of money thanks to the supporters’ enthusiasm, and capitalizing on the clubs’ identity and branding can lead to lucrative prospects.

Many teams are studying or have already begun the process of forming their own Anonymous Football Association in this regard. The list covers both financially troubled institutions (such as Botafogo and Vasco) and those that are well-structured but see a good market opportunity.


Botafogo S/A’s project is old, but now that it has been approved by SAF, the club is expected to be one of the first to implement it. The General Assembly recently altered the law to allow for the sale of 100 percent of football, effectively excluding the social wing from this division.

The procedure is overseen by the XP brokerage, who also provided advice on the Cruzeiro-Ronaldo Fenômeno deal. The decision to go public in full has been warmly received by experts, and Botafogo now has access to the Serie A of Brasileirão 2022, putting it in a strong position to attract new investors.

The plan is to complete the SAF’s formation in 2021 and begin operations with new investors in the first part of 2022. The new CNPJ will be critical in settling the club’s debts and overhauling its football operations.


Another Brazilian football powerhouse, Vasco, is considering adopting this managerial philosophy in the near future. President Jorge Salgado declared on social media that studies for the building of Vasco da Gama SAF had been commissioned.

The effort aims to identify the best dynamics of this transition, which includes contract description, asset valuation, and how this administrative structure would work, among other things. The club will form a project follow-up group.

The SAF, in the president’s opinion, is the most effective approach of combining financial reform with investments in soccer cruzmaltino. Vasco did not return to Serie A in 2021, and their results were below expectations. They are now attempting to reclaim their dominance, and see the formation of the corporation as the most expedient course of action.


América-MG was one of the silver linings of Brazilian football in 2021, winning a place in the Libertadores the same year it was promoted to Serie A.

The franchise is currently being discussed with American billionaire Joseph DaGrosa Jr, who was originally the owner of Bordeaux-FRA and wants to establish an international sports investment group similar to the City Group.

Coelho’s advisers approved the start of the procedures for the conversion into SAF on December 16, which might result in R$200 million in investments. Assets held by the club, such as CT income and rental properties, must be kept by the association.

The plan is for América-MG to begin asset transfers in January and to assume administration of Independência. The percentage that will remain with the American billionaire has yet to be determined.


Following approval by the Deliberative Council, Figueirense Futebol Clube announced the establishment of a new company that will follow the principles of the new law.

The initiative will continue to be developed, but unlike the other examples, the plan is for the club to own 100% of the new CNPJ at first.

The directors believe that this is the best approach to restructure the institution because the SAF would be free of debt and would be able to invest more in its football while also benefiting from the Figueirense brand and assets.

It’s worth noting that Figueirense attempted to restructure their debts through an Extrajudicial Recovery Plan. As a result, they reached out to creditors and proposed a payment plan. The valuations would be derived from SAF’s revenue, with the possibility of new investors joining in the future.

Red Bull Bragantino and Cuiabá, the Serie A club-companies

Even before the SAF, there are two clubs in the Brasileirão Serie A that have business management: Red Bull Bragantino and Cuiabá.

Before Bragantino, the energy drink brand effort in Brazilian football began with Red Bull Brazil in 2007. However, after failing to meet its objectives, the firm shifted its attention and paid R$45 million for the traditional squad from Bragança Paulista, which will compete in Serie B in 2019.

The team took off in two years, becoming access champion in the same year, reaching the Sudamericana final in 2021, and securing a direct spot to the Libertadores in the same year. Almost R$150 million has already been spent on acquiring talent from other clubs in order to resell to international football.

Cuiabá Esporte Clube, on the other hand, began as a “regular” football club in 2001, but was purchased in 2009 by Grupo Dresch, the club’s principal sponsor. The modifications strengthened the team, and it has recently won a position in Serie A and also competed in the Sudamericana.

Cuiabá, by the way, has already opted to form the Sociedade Anônima do Futebol since its laws are more conducive to club administration. Despite this, no outside investors will be allowed into the club; the Dresch family will continue to run it.

União São João, the first club-company in Brazil

Uniao Sao Joao de Araras, which participated in four editions of the Brasileiro Série A in the 1990s and also attended the elite of Sao Paulo football, will be remembered by those who have followed the sport for a longer time. He is also regarded as the first Brazilian football club-company.

Hermnio Ometto, who also gave the Araras stadium its name, formed the club in 1953. Between professional football stops, he made it to Paulistao’s first level in 1988, two years after their founder died.

In 1994, the decision to become a Sociedade Anônima was made. The name was decided during one of the 1981 trips to the pitch: Ometto wanted to call the team Usina Sao Joao, after his company, but the FPF rules prohibited him from doing so. As a result, it adopted the acronym USJ for Uniao Sao Joao.

The club immediately gained a reputation as a hotbed of Brazilian football revelations. The plan was to bring in young talent and then sell them to other clubs later. Léo (ex-Santos), Romarinho (ex-Corinthians), Henrique Dourado (ex-Palmeiras and Fluminense), and a slew of other stars arose as a result of this.

The best-known was five-time winner Roberto Carlos, who was sold to Palmeiras for US$500,000 in 1992. In its glory years, the club moved a lot of money and was successful in this strategy, which was devised after the Ometto Family stopped funding the club. However, the crisis occurred, and the Union has been out of the field since 2015.

The USJ is expected to return to the lawns in 2022. The team has been announced for Copinha 2022, and Araras will be one of the tournament’s locations. In addition, he trains to play football in So Paulo’s fourth tier. For a team that was previously among the best in the country, this is a true fresh start.

Hope for new times

Cruzeiro SAF may be the first to do so, but it will undoubtedly not be the last. It’s too early to tell what influence the extension of the club-company model will have in Brazil, but the expectation is that it will raise the quality of competitiveness, especially among teams that are better formed and have fewer financial concerns.

In any case, the SAF must be implemented in dozens of teams, and those that best utilize its benefits will be able to stand out in sport. Red Bull Bragantino has proven that competent management makes a difference in just two years. However, it is important to recognize that simply turning the club into a corporation does not solve all of the issues.

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