Botafogo add name to Brazil’s new Libra league team sheet

May 16 – Botafogo are the latest club to sign up to the Liga Brasileira (Libra), the new launch breakaway league that will be managed by the clubs instead of the Confederation of Brazilian Football (CBF).

The Rio club are the latest outfit to join the growing movement. In an interview with local media, Botafogo owner John Textor (pictured) explained the decision saying: “We are being asked: would you like to sit at the table with the biggest clubs in Brazil, the ones that are likely to continue to be leaders, the biggest brands in the country, when people think of Brazilian football? When the Premier League started, imagine if Crystal Palace were asked: would you rather be the smallest club in the Big Six or the biggest club in a group of 14? The decision is obvious.”

At the start of May, Red Bull Bragantino, Corinthians, Flamengo, Palmeiras, Santos, São Paulo and Cruzeiro, in the second division, threw their weight behind Libra, with partner Codajas Sports Kapital.

More clubs had been expected to back Libra, but differences remain over the distribution of the revenue from broadcast rights with ‘Forte Futebol’, a block of clubs who teamed up to counterbalance the interests of clubs in Rio de Janeiro and Sao Paulo.

“We are talking about 40 clubs, right?” said Textor. “Botafogo is much closer to the top than the bottom, in all these formulas. I don’t think much about ‘us against Flamengo’, I think more about where we will be in the total picture, between the first and second divisions.

‘We’ll be at the top. Flamengo’s economic power existed even before my arrival. I can’t do anything about the fact that they have 40 million fans and $200 million in revenue. It is what it is. But when you form a new league, see, socialism doesn’t work. You’re not going to create a new league saying that the big ones have to give the little ones and that’s the only way it’s going to work. We have to understand that reality is reality,” said Textor.

Botafogo’s membership is another step towards Libra’s critical mass of competing clubs. Since last year when the CBF passed through an institutional crisis, clubs have been pressuring for a league under their control.

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