2022 Race

Football coach to run for Congress

Football coach to run for Senate seat
Vanderlei Luxemburgo has won five national titles, more than any other coach in Brazil. Photo: A. Paes/Shutterstock

Vanderlei Luxemburgo, 69, is one of Brazil’s most decorated active football coaches. Now, he wants to test his political chops with a potential run for Congress. Mr. Luxemburgo has joined the center-left Brazilian Socialist Party (PSB) and could put himself up for a seat in the lower house, representing the state of Tocantins — not his home state, but where he owns a television station.

Mr. Luxemburgo has already been a member of the Communist Party of Brazil (PCdoB) and the Workers’ Party.

Despite being one of the most successful coaches in recent Brazilian history, having coached the national team and Real Madrid in the late 1990s and early 2000s, Mr. Luxemburgo hasn’t been able to pull off a successful run with any club for more than a decade, and it is uncertain whether his past successes will be enough to convince voters that he has what it takes to be a good politician.

Moreover, Tocantins elects only eight lower house members — the fewest of any state. A run for the Senate could be even riskier. Only one seat is up for grabs and he would have to face down long-time Senator Kátia Abreu, a prominent representative of agricultural interests.

According to Brazil’s electoral laws, the football coach would have to dilute his stake in the local TV station to be eligible for office. However, that would not prevent him from cashing in on the company’s profits.