When the Maracana stadium was built in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, for the Football World Cup in 1950, it was aspired to be a temple of football. Those hopes were destroyed in some way after Uruguay defeated Brazil in the final of the tournament. The Brazilians blamed goalkeeper Moacir Barbosa for the defeat. Barbosa is black, and became a scapegoat. As expected, there was no lack of those who said that only white players were fit to be archers.
Almost 60 years after that fateful day, the stadium witnessed a memorable moment for Brazilian football. On October 12, before the match between Fluminense FC and EC Bahia, the coaches of both teams, Marcão and Roger Machado, shook hands and posed for the photos with the shirts of the Brazilian Football Racial Observatory, an organization that follows up on Discrimination in sport. They are the only black coaches in the first Brazilian football leagues, called “Serie A”, made up of 20 clubs.
The lack of representatives of color in the Brazilian soccer leadership is surprising if the country's demographic statistics are taken into account. More than 55.8% of the Brazilian population is identified as black (9.3%) or brown (46.5%). Brazil was the largest importer of African slaves in the western world during the 16th and 19th centuries, as well as the last place in the region to abolish slavery, in 1888.
✊? Once more, we wear a shirt do @ObRacialFutebol! I shouldn't be an assim, but I am a brand or I found two only two black technicians from Série A #ChegaDePreconceito #BBMP pic.twitter.com/48iJpgfBCC
– Esporte Clube Bahia (@ECBahia) October 12, 2019
Once again, we will wear the Brazilian Soccer Racial Observatory t-shirt! It shouldn't be that way, but the match marks the meeting of the only two color coaches in league A.
At a press conference after the game, Roger Machado, who has expressed himself against discrimination in football, talked about how Brazil's structural racism is perpetuated by those who hold power and privileges. The video of his speech went viral on social networks:
For me, this is a proof that there is a preconceite, because it is something that calls attention. À As people with more than 50% of the population give black population and proportionality that is not equal. I love people to fear to refract and wonder. There is no preconceito no Brasil, why do blacks have a lower level of schooling than two branches? Why a população carcerria, 70% of the black? Why burn more morre são os jovens negro no Brasil? Why are the minors only for blacks? And among the mulheres brancas and black, only for black ace? Why among the mulheres as mais morrem são as mulheres negra? There are different types of preconceito. (…) Deny and silence and confirm or racism.
For me, this is proof that there are prejudices, because it is something that attracts attention. More than 50% of the population is black, but it is disproportionately represented. I think we should think about it, ask ourselves questions and reflect. If there are no prejudices in Brazil, why do blacks have lower levels of schooling than whites? Why is 70% of our population in prisons black? Why those who die the most are young blacks in Brazil? Why are the lowest incomes for blacks? And when talking about black and white women, why are black women paid less? Why are the women who die the most black? There are many types of prejudice … To deny and silence it is to confirm racism.
Roger Machado, technician of Bahia mandou bem demais ao discorrer on or Brazilian racism racism to comment on a ação against racial discrimination performed not jogo @ECBahia x @FluminenseFC pic.twitter.com/aDpOsRslKJ#ChegadePreconceito
– Racism Observatory (@ObRacialFutebol) October 13, 2019
Roger Machado, technical director of Bahia, made things clear when he spoke about structural racism in Brazil and supported actions against racial discrimination before the match between Esporte Clube Bahia and the Fluminense Football Club.
The photo was suggested by the Brazilian Soccer Racial Observatory, an organization created by Marcelo Carvalho, who spoke with Global Voices through WhatsApp:
Hello @ECBahia and @FluminenseFC We have a sonho!
How about not next jogo where do you give only black technicians of Série A will find the vestirem nossa t-shirt? You give já falaram about a racial questão and it will be a last chance to go there. How are you?#ChegadePreconceito pic.twitter.com/Khgp5oPdD9
– Racism Observatory (@ObRacialFutebol) October 11, 2019
Hi, Esporte Clube Bahia and Fluminense Football Club, we have a dream!
What would happen if, in the next game, the only two black technical directors of league A meet wearing our shirt? Both have talked about racial issues before and it will be a great opportunity to advance the debate. What do you think? Enough of prejudice.
Carvalho said the idea came up after Fluminense hired Marcão as coach of his football team on October 4. According to him, many journalists began asking the Observatory for information about the two black coaches who worked in major league clubs in the last five years. Marcelo said the answer was four, with two or three working at the same time.
At the 2018 World Cup in Russia, there was only one black technical director who led a national team: Senegalese Aliou Cissé, who has also given his opinion on racial issues.
As disse or Roger, chamou a atenção from all over the world, it is mainly sportive, to two two black treinadores. (Viram que) fear as soon as you give and you give iam face. Isso shouldn't be scary, should be normal.
As Roger said, everyone was struck, especially in sports media, that there were two black coaches. They realized that there were only two and that they would face each other. This shouldn't surprise, it should be something normal.
In 2018, EC Bahía released the 2017 report, which listed 43 cases of discrimination that year – an increase of 72% since 2016. It was also the first year that an incident was recorded in Bahia, a Brazilian state with the largest Afro-Brazilian population . Between January and September 2019, the Observatory counted 39 cases of discrimination in soccer championships in Brazil.
Marcelo says that this would explain the increase in intolerance towards racism in Brazilian society, which pushes clubs and players to speak. And add:
I credit that or futebol brasileiro já vem paying attention to a racial questão de uns dois years para cá. Every time a number of cases (of racism) were reported to Lança um people with crescimento, every time people win more visibility of media and get to report the cases, this is generating a major impact every day, among jornalistas, torcedores e , maybe, players too (these people are not sure). But seeming a conscientização no mundo do futebol.
I believe in the last two years, Brazilian football has paid more attention to racial issues. Every time we launch a new report that shows an increase in cases of racism, more repercussion is generated among journalists and fans, and perhaps also among players (although we are not sure about this). But, fortunately, awareness in the football world is increasing.