Strike threat by Brazilians

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The Independent Online
A long-standing Brazilian gate-money scam has led to players threatening a strike, as they say that although the directors know who the culprits are, they are taking no action. Two members of Brazil's World Cup-winning side, Romario and Branco, who both play for Flamengo, are leading a campaign to stamp out what they say is the theft of gate money at matches in the Rio de Janeiro championship.

"This has gone on for a long time," Jair Pereira, the Botafogo coach, said yesterday. "The directors know it, the public knows it. Everybody knows it happens, yet nobody has done anything to stop it. The directors know who is doing it. The situation is really bad. It's time to take drastic action."

Players and coaches say attendances announced officially at Brazilian matches are often far smaller than the genuine attendance. Somebody then takes the money from the undeclared ticket sales, they allege.

"The public turns up in great numbers at the stadiums and the official attendance is often half that number," the Fluminense striker, Ezio, said. "It's absurd."

Vanderley Luxemburgo, the Flamengo coach, agreed that action was needed. "We have to clean up football. People who have nothing to do with the spectacle are gaining from it in an illegal way."

Carlos Alberto Parreira, who coached Brazil to its World Cup victory last year, said that a recent offer to coach the American national team had come too late, but he would be delighted to consider the post in the future.

"I would like to take the job. It would be my sixth national team to coach. Not many coaches could say that and I would be very proud," Parreira said. "I was contacted about the US job some weeks ago, but I had just renewed my contract with Valencia and that would be too difficult to break now."

Speculation that Parreira might be in line for the job came after the rejection earlier this week of a similar offer by the coach of Sporting Lisbon, Carlos Queiroz, who had been offered the post after Bora Milutinovic, who had coached the team since 1991, was sacked in April.

Parreira also has coached Ghana, the United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia and Kuwait. He took over at Valencia, the Spanish First Division club, following Brazil's victory last year, and his contract runs until June 1997.