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  • Subject area(s): Marketing
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  • Published on: 14th September 2019
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  • Number of pages: 2

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It is passed the time to stop!

"We tried to tell the fans to stop because things would only get worse. We looked at the stands and there were no cops. There was nobody there to stop the fight. They were trying to escape the Atletico fans,”. "We saw a young lad laying down, getting kicked, being hit by blocks of wood. He is a human being. This needs to stop. We asked them to stop, and they did not listen to us “ This is how the defender of one of the teams, Luiz Alberto, portrayed the episode of violence that happened on the last game of the Brazilian league soccer in 2013. The soccer Facebook page called “Esporte Interativo” is a good way to present a solution for the problem, however, there is more that needs to be done to address this issue.

Soccer is one of the biggest passions of the Brazilian people. It is something that people can smile about and have a moment of happiness, leaving aside all the economic and social problems that the country faces. People fill the stadiums to watch their team playing. Kids all over the country dream of being a soccer player and becoming the best in Brazil. But fanaticism makes people aggressive, and prevent some people and families to enjoy the same. Which parents would take their children to a dangerous stadium where they can be hurt just because they were on the wrong side of crowd? The team supporters see their rivals as enemies, and fight between each other, even killing each other because of this “passion". This is killing soccer in Brazil. In 2013, 30 people died related to soccer violence. This problem is growing more year after year, and government has to do something, this violence should stop, because if it don't, more deaths related to soccer fights are going to occur.

Brazilians are known because of their passion for soccer. People all over the country have a team to support, kids of all ages dream on becoming a famous soccer player. This passion begins very early. According to IBOPE, “Soccer is the biggest passion for 77% of the country”. The country who won the biggest number of world cups, with some of the best players of all time, like Pelé, Ronaldo, Ronaldinho, etc. These facts show how big soccer is in Brazil. According to a Brazilian website called “O GLOBO”, soccer in brazil  moves 11 billions reais every year, the equivalent of 4 billions dollars. The sport is present in the literature, music, cinema. It is part of people's culture.

But inside of this passion and fanaticism, comes the violence. Supporters who love their team, can't stay at the same place with supporters of some other team, they see rivals as enemies. Violence in Brazilian stadiums is growing year after year. According to a Brazilian website called O GLOBO, "Only between 2013 and 2015, the country recorded 53 deaths between team supporters". An example of this barbarity occurred in Recife, Pernambuco, where a supporter died after being hit by a toilet in a stadium. The country leads the list of violence between supporters, followed by Argentina and Italy. It is becoming a security problem, and not just something related to soccer.

"Soccer has gone from a form of entertainment to a form of war," says Isaias Ambrosio, a Maracana stadium employee for 44 years. The stadium, with a capacity of 85.000, averaged only 17.374 fans a game for the 2015 national championship playoffs, which generally draw huge crowds. October 2016, only 18.109 people attended a game between Flamengo and Fluminense, one of the biggest classic games in Brazil. People are getting afraid of going to stadiums. People prefer to watch the games from their homes, where they know they will be safe. Statistics show that violence between team supporters is “killing” the soccer in Brazil. Violence is pointed out as the main cause that keeps fans away from football stadiums in Brazil. This is what a research made by Stochos Institute indicates, in which 43% answered that the lack of security discourages going to the games. "Violence is destroying Brazilian football," said an editorial in the Rio daily, Jornal do Brasil. "If we don't act quickly, the empty stadiums will bankrupt Brazilian soccer.”

As human beings we already understand that we are incapable of respecting the religious, political and sexual options of the other, but can we respect their options in sports? Is it really so tragic to see someone supporting a team that is not yours? The world is full of idiots, but adhere to sports bullying is to pass the limits of common sense. Is this a great need to be an anarchist and to promote free violence? Unfortunately, nowadays, it is increasingly remote the possibility of going to a football game and not be scared of being swallowed alive by furious idiots who think they do a favor to their team. Unfortunately, nowadays, winning or losing does not matter anymore. What matters is striking his chest and shouting at the top of his head how proud he is of the shirt he wears. Stupid people, who do not deserve and can not live the sport.

The government keeps working to decrease the number of incidents inside and outside the stadiums, but effective attitudes must be taken to avoid conflicts between the fans. Multidisciplinary interventions and projects must be accomplished in a strategic plan to contain clashes in the stadiums. But the government just can't do anything, the number of deaths just grow year after year, and nothing is made to control it. Police officers are not prepared for situations like that. And neither the stadiums. The combination of violent supporters and unprepared officer leads to a war zone. Government have to show more toughness and punish those who promote violence. But comes another problem in Brazil, justice, so incapable, that people know that even if they get caught fighting on stadiums, nothing is going to happen to them. Is very clear that the problem comes from a place much deeper than just unprepared stadiums and officers.

England has lived a situation similar to Brazil, with the hooligans. Supporters famous because of their aggressive behaviour. The apex was in 1985 when fans of Juventus, from Italy died in a confrontation with fans of Liverpool, from England. The government decided to use intelligence instead of force. The supporter who gets caught fighting receives an FBO (Football Banning Order) and is forced to stay three to ten years away from the stadiums. To ensure compliance, he has to stay in a police station while his team plays. When the England team is out of the country, the  supporter is forced to take his passport to the government five days before the game. Whoever disrespects the rule is arrested and processed. Countries that followed England's example, like Spain and Germany, were able to control their hooligans too. These countries have shown to Brazil that is possible to reverse the situation. With planning and patience, the problem can be solved.

In Brazil, Sport Club Internacional, took a different attitude to deal with the problem of fights between fans. To go to a match, every supporter must agree to enter the stadium accompanied by a supporter of the opposing team, and sit next to them throughout the game. The club said the policy was received well; it has already repeated the initiative in two more games. “Rivals on and off the field must live within the limits of respect and humanity,” said Luiz Henrique Nuñez, the club's president of media and marketing. “It is still early to say that this action is able to stop the violence in stadiums in days of great rivalries. [But] we saw clearly that people have come to see the real possibility of change.” In South America and Europe, soccer supporters are usually divided into home and away zones to prevent fights. Another example is Fulham's stadium in London, that offers mixed seating for supporters of both teams. Curiously, there is no violence in that stadium in London. Therefore, what Sports Club Internacional and Fulham prove is that if you treat fans with respect, the majority will behave. Conversely, if you treat fans like hooligans and thugs, is it a surprise if they behave like ones?

Considering that the average audience per game in Serie A of the Brazilian Championship of 2016 was approximately 17,000 fans and the Series B 6 thousand, and that each of the competitions had, in most cases, ten matches per weekend, can be concluded that the soccer stadiums in Brazil received approximately 230 thousand fans per round, which represents only 0.12% of the Brazilian population. So far from being considered a problem that plagues the whole country or that should arouse so much attention of the public power. The main ones interested in solving this problem are the clubs and their consequent associations, be it a federation or a league, since it is they who have in soccer their main reason for existence. Violence in the stadiums should matter much more to them than to the government. But it is not what appears to happen.

The problem is that the effect of violence and insecurity on club revenue is overwhelming. All, absolutely all revenue channels are, to a greater or lesser degree, affected.

The lower the security and the greater the violence within the stadium, the fewer people go to the games, be it in the stands, in the chair, or in the staterooms. Those who go, make them aware of the risks and, therefore, tend not to extend their stay inside the stadium. Which, together with also a lesser disposition of the individual to take larger sums of money limits the power of consumption, either food, drink or other products. With the general feeling of insecurity, there are also prohibitions on the sale of alcoholic beverages, which, after the game itself, is the main consumer product in a game.

Another consequence is that one of the main reasons companies take to sponsor a sport, in the case of football, is the opportunity to connect their brand to an image of health and wellness, benefits of sports. When a company's brand appears at the time of a fight, the company ends up conveying an image opposite to what it wants. Of course, this risk tends to crowd out sponsors, especially the more conservative ones, which reduces competition and hence the value of sponsorship.

Most of a club's licensing revenue comes from the sale of official shirts. Insecurity and violence inhibit the sale of shirts, since wearing it inside or outside the stadium becomes a risk to the supporter's integrity. Because licensed products are essentially symbolic goods - they are worth much more for what they represent than for what they do - the fan can replace the shirt with more reserved products, such as a cup and key chain, which are also much cheaper and with a much more limited distribution.

More violence and less money means less competitiveness in player salaries, which tends to reduce the bargaining power of the club in negotiating with other clubs that want to hire their athletes. In addition, insecurity may motivate the athlete to want to leave the club, which also influences the final value of the sale and, possibly, their performance in the field, which also decreases their value.

The last problem is that with empty stadiums and no atmosphere, with few important players and scarce sponsorships, the value of football as television entertainment is very low. The material conveyed by the press in general also denigrate the image of the game, which also ends up affecting its value. With the decrease in the television value of a championship, few channels are willing to compete for the exclusivity of their rights, which also substantially reduces the amount collected with the sale of a championship.

The weight of insecurity and violence for a soccer club is enormous. Therefore, the reason why the big ones interested in ending it should be the clubs. It is up to the State to oversee and encourage the idea, but it is not up to it to draw the whole responsibility on itself. It would be far more effective for the government to tighten fiscal control over clubs so that they would begin to realize how much insecurity affects their own collection, and consequently their sports performance, and to take practical and constant measures that seek to improve Structures of their stadiums and greater control over the behavior of their own fans.

As long as the government is the only one to move and the clubs do not realize how much this process affects their own pocket, Brazilian football will be bound to face cycles of actions against violence with a very limited validity. Soccer supporters have to understand the consequences they make to the clubs they love. If they don't care about the rivals who die, maybe they will think about their team, and how this violence stains the Brazilian soccer in a general image of the sport. It's a shame that many people who think they are fans of the sport promote violence. Soccer brings us to challenge, team, group, skills, talent, and a lot of ideas that should connect us rather than separate us. We should support each other. But what we see, constantly, are two sides that hate each other. Fans who seek not only to win, but to humiliate the opponent. Is this really what sport is all about? And violence in sports goes far beyond the stadiums, or sports arenas, they start before, in the streets, in bars, on the internet. Violence in Brazilian soccer exists in all forms, whether verbal or physical violence. Bullying has taken on huge proportions, especially with the advent of the internet, in which demonstrating against or in favor of a particular team is putting yourself in a bad position. Not to mention the vandalism that applies to almost all situations of violence in soccer. And the consequences of this violence are dramatic and destroy the concepts behind what was to be a link between people. It is passed the time that people should stop with this violence and think more about the consequences that this promotes and how bad to the image of the sport these fights are. England used to have more violent supporters than Brazil have. They solved their problem, now it is time to Brazil solve it too.

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