April 24, 2014

In brazil

Friday, December 13, 2013

No sex before games? Players test club controls

Botafogo players play table-football during the concentração.
SÃO PAULO — The Brazilian tradition of the concentração — sequestering teams before matches and shielding them from temptations such as sex and alcohol — is under threat as players take a stand against the late payment of wages.
So far this year players at Botafogo, Portuguesa and Vasco da Gama have refused to attend the concentração because their salaries were not paid on time.
Although only Botafogo’s players have maintained the boycott, their action has led to a reappraisal of the ritual and raised questions over the integrity of Brazilian players.
“Soccer is all about results, and if Vasco and Botafogo can show that they perform better without the concentracão then other teams will adhere,” said Lúcio Surubim, the director of soccer at recently relegated Náutico.
The concentração is a long-standing institution used to control players. Teams gather in hotels or at the club training ground for one or two nights before matches so staff can monitor the players, prepare them for games and keep them away from outside influences.
Botafogo’s players rebelled at the start of the year. The club had not paid their salaries for several weeks and the players abandoned the concentração in protest.
The experiment proved successful and continued even after their salaries were paid.
The Rio de Janeiro side have had one of their best seasons in years. They won the Rio state championship in May and finished fourth in Serie A, guaranteeing a place in next year’s Libertadores Cup for the first time since 1996.
Even in Brazil, the practice has long been considered anachronistic. In the early 1980s, Corinthians midfielder Sócrates called it a “notorious aberration” and the then medical student organized shifts the day before a match to avoid being involved. He led his teammates to vote against the practice and they rejected it for several years during a period known as Corinthians Democracy. However, when he left the club in 1984 the concentração returned.
Other players have legendary tales of escaping the bubble.
Garrincha sneaked out of the Botafogo team hotel during a 1959 tour to Sweden, and nine months later was rewarded with a son.
Renato Gaúcho missed out on the 1986 World Cup after being caught partying on the eve of the tournament.
Romario and a young Ronaldo left Brazil’s team base one night during a Copa America tournament. After scaling a wall, Ronaldo was surprised to find Romario had arranged a taxi to take them to a nightclub. “It was mega-professional,” he joked years later.
Nevertheless, many players acknowledge the practice does serve a purpose. “The concentração allows the team to be together, to talk over the game, to watch videos of opponents, and to relax,” said Moises Moura, a central defender with Portuguesa whose itinerant career has taken him to clubs in Portugal, Russia, Qatar and China. “These kind of things keep you focused on the game.”
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