Point of principal: Brazil coach Tite refuses to mix politics and national team duty

December 7 – Tite and the Brazilian national team will not meet with newly elected president Jair Bolsonaro before or after the Copa America, the Brazil coach has said. Before the World Cup in Russia Tite had also refused to meet outgoing president Michel Temer.

Last Sunday, president-elect Bolsonaro was a prominent guest as Palmeiras celebrated their tenth Brazilian title with a 3-2 win at home against relegated Vitoria. Bolsonaro hugged with Luiz Felipe Scolari in the dressing room and presented the team with the trophy, alongside CBF president elect Rogerio Caboclo.

Bolsonaro, who is controversial extreme-right politician, performed his gun-waving salute in front of a sell-out crowd. He received a mixed reaction from fans, with some booing and others cheering.

Brazilian media have reported that behind the scenes the Brazilian Football Confederation, (CBF) has been trying hard to cozy up to Brazil’s new political number one, but earlier this week Brazil coach Tite categorically ruled out that he’d meet with Bolsonaro if Brazil were to win the Copa America next year on home soil.

“I maintain the same opinion,” said Tite when asked at a seminar. “My activity does not mix, does not mix. I have an opinion, but I do not want to and should not give an opinion [about Bolsonaro’s presence on the field at Palmeiras]. There are a series of ethical, moral and competitive values.”

Before the World Cup in Russia Tite had also broken with the tradition that the Brazilian national team coach meets the president. In press conferences Tite has remained notoriously tight-lipped, avoiding any political statements. At the World Cup, Brazil were eliminated in the quarterfinals 2-1 by Belgium.

Contact the writer if this story, Samindra Kunti, at moc.l1558782470labto1558782470ofdlr1558782470owedi1558782470sni@o1558782470fni1558782470