CBF stands for Confederação Brasileira de Futebol, or Brazilian Confederation of Football; CBF, a confederation, congregates all the football federations in Brazil.
Given the popularity and capillarity of football in Brazil, CBF is one of the most powerful organizations in the country; read the origins of the power of CBF. In Brazil (except for the year of 1987, read further below), there is no League, as in most European countries; in a League, the teams have the final word; in Brazil, CBF has it.
CBF is a private entity; the Government has no injunction on CBF. The official website of CBF is www.cbf.com.br, currently, CBF has some kind of agreement with globo.com, the largest media group in Brazil, whose banners are shown at the top of CBF homepage.
CBF doesn’t have to open its accounts, neither to the Account Offices of the Government, nor to private owners.
And CBF makes a lot of money.
CBF collects all money earned by the Brazilan team. When Brazil won the Confederations Cup, FIFA paid a prize in cash, collected by CBF. When a big company signs a contract to sponsor the Brazilian team, CBF collects the money; last month, German carmaker Volskwagen announced that will sponsor Brazil until 2014, gaining the right of claiming to be a sponsor (VW is the biggest seller of cars in Brazil) and transporting the team in VW buses – the financial value was not disclosed, as CBF is not obliged to.
More. When Brazilian television chains pay to broadcast matches of Brazilian championships (from 1st to 3rd Division, men or women), it’s CBF who collects the money (and passes it along to the teams – read further belong about the Club of the 13). When Brazil makes friendly matches around the world (why would Brazil play against Oman in the end of November?), it’s CBF who negotiates how much Brazil will be paid, and eventually collects the money.
Of course, CBF has also duties. The most visible of all is to coordinate the activities of the Brazilian National team. CBF pays the salaries of a permanent staff and of all players while they are serving the national team. The players, usually international stars, are accommodated in the best hotels, and eat the best food.
Project of new CBF headquarters
CBF negotiates with TV stations on behalf of the Brazilian teams. CBF, of course, attempts to collect as much money as possible. A problem arises, though, when it comes to share the money between the teams; not all teams are equal, and the money shouldn’t be split equally.
In 1987, this caused a small rebellion. There was no agreement between CBF and the major Brazilian teams, regarding division of TV revenues. That year, instead of submitting to CBF, the major 13 teams in Brazil decided to create the Clube dos 13 (Club of the 13), a kind of League of Clubs.
Clube dos 13 organized a parallel championship in 1987, called Cup João Havelange, which was not officially recognized by CBF. In the end, CBF asked Flamengo and Internacional, winners of João Havelange Cup, to have a play off against Sport Recife and Guarani, winners of the official CBF Brazilian Cup (which was disputed by the weaker teams of then). Flamengo and Inter refused, and Sport Recife was declared official champion of 1987; this is the origin of the controversy of the number of Brazilian championships of Flamengo: four five (already counting the recent title of 2009), according to CBF, or six, according to everybody else.
In 1988, CBF got back in terms with the teams, who managed to gain more voice against the Confederation: since then, the number of teams in the First Division decreased and stabilized in 20.
In the 1970s, the Brazilian tournament reaches nearly 100 teams (see figures here), obliging big teams like Flamengo and Sao Paulo to travel all around the country. And the reason for that, of course, was not the importance of 100 teams, but because CBF, or rather the President of CBF, wanted to keep small teams happy to gain votes for the next election.
And here comes the figure of the President of CBF. The Confederation probably has a board of directors, but nobody knows anyone but the President. When one says “CBF decided”, one means “the President of CBF decided”.
For a long time, the President of CBF was Joao Havelange, who would later become President of FIFA. Since 1989, President is Ricardo Teixeira, son in law of Havelange.
Photo by: Ricardo Stuckert
Above: Ricardo Teixeira and President Lula; source: Presidency of the Republic.
Teixeira speaks for CBF. Teixeira signs all contracts. Teixeira can’t say who are the players who will play for Brazil, but he says who is the coach.
Teixeira is one of the most known, talked about and powerful man in Brazil.