How the World Cup Can Help Brazil's Domestic League

Callum Fox@@cjfox21Contributor IIIAugust 2, 2013

RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL - JUNE 05:  Men play football on Ipanema beach ahead of the FIFA Confederations Cup Brazil 2013 on June 5, 2013 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.  (Photo by Michael Regan/Getty Images)
Michael Regan/Getty Images

With the 2014 World Cup fast approaching, there's been a furious debate over how FIFA's premier event can benefit Brazil amidst civil unrest seen at the recent Confederations Cup.

Protesters marched in Brazil's biggest cities speaking out against the government over their lack of action in resolving some of the country's biggest issues, raising concerns among FIFA officials over Brazil's suitability as a host.

But while Brazil 2014 is set to highlight problems in the South American nation, it's also important to point out the benefits it could bring to the domestic league.

The Brasileirao is already enjoying a period of high visibility and success, emphasised by Atletico Mineiro's recent Copa Libertadores glorythe fourth successive year in which a Brazilian club has won the competition.

In addition to success on the continent, the Brasileirao was named the fifth-best league in the world by World Soccer, as reported by Sambafoot.

And the media are already taking note, with the UK's BT Sport picking up the rights to show the competition from August onwards, according to The Daily Telegraph.

But there is still scope for improvement. So, how can the 2014 World Cup help the Brasileirao?


Greater focus on domestic based players

The Selecao have only just reversed a downward trend in their tournament squads, with ten domestic-based players making the 2013 Confederations Cup squadthe highest number since the 2004 Copa America where they brought eleven domestic players to Peru.

Brazilians took immense pride in the strength of their national league, with the likes of Paulinho, Fred, Bernard and Jo making the squad in June.

It used to be a common complaint in recent years that far too much of an emphasis was placed on European-based players at the expense of talent still in the Brasileirao.

This mentality reached the point where Selecao hopefuls felt it necessary to obtain a move to Europe at all costs, just to have a chance of a call-up.

But the barrier on domestic players has seemingly lifted in recent years, and with the return of Luiz Felipe Scolari to the helm, the Selecao now combines the best of the Brasileirao with Europe's elite stars.

A successful World Cup for the hosts would emphasise the benefits of in-form domestic players over the journeymen talents wandering across Europe.


Encourage interest in local football

But the elephant in the room still remains.

Attendances in the Brasileirao have been on a downward spiral for some time with World Soccer (H/T Sambafoot) reporting the average attendance to be just 13,004 in 2012-13. 

Another survey by consulting group Pluri Consultoria, as reported by Negocios, concluded that just three Brazilian clubs were in the top 100 club average attendances last season.

They were Corinthians, Santa Cruz and Sao Paulo. 

Embarrassingly, the highest placed of them, Corinthians, only managed to place 91st in the table with an average of 25,222 spectators per match.

There are hopes that Brazil 2014 can bring a renewed interest in a domestic game considered too expensive by many for the average worker.

But unless ticket prices are lowered, it looks set to be an impossible task.


Raise profile of the Brasileirao

The Brasileirao is already gaining a wider profile in Europe, and the UK in particular, after television rights were picked up by ESPN and now BT Sport.

Much like the European leagues, it is hoped that by being shown in television sets worldwide, it will continue to increase the profile of the Brasileirao.

If Brazil can boost the visibility of its domestic game then cash should flow into their coffers from television rights worldwide.

There's no reason why Brazil cannot take its current status as the fifth-best league in the world and make it count in television rights and sponsorship deals.

The World Cup can only help in that respect, educating tourists and viewers alike about local football culture such as the melting pots of club football that is Rio de Janeiro, Sao Paulo and Belo Horizonte.

With plenty of world famous clubs, the Brasileirao just needs an injection of publicity to attract interest in Brazil's domestic football.

Brazil are renowned for the Selecao, but if they play their cards right at the 2014 World Cup, they can emerge as one of the leaders of club football.


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