Congressmen want to improve the image of Brazil’s national football team

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The Brazilian national football team is gearing up for this year’s World Cup in Qatar, with hopes that the country will take home its sixth trophy — an all-time record. While the population at large is not yet in World Cup-mode, the House Sports Committee has set up a working group to monitor the national team’s preparations and improve its image around the world.

The request to launch the working group complains that the Brazilian national team has suffered a dent in its reputation and has not come close to winning the World Cup in 20 years. The only exception, they note, was the 2014 tournament hosted in Brazil, where the country fell in the semi-finals after an embarrassing 7-1 loss to eventual champions Germany.

Behind the proposal is Congressman José Rocha, a former president of northeastern football club Vitória. His idea is for the group to hold meetings with the Brazilian Football Confederation “as part of a set of efforts to redeem Brazil’s image as ‘the land of football.'”

The committee will have up to 11 members and 11 understudies. Theoretically, working groups are supposed to “improve the legislative and administrative process,” according to House regulations. Of the 13 currently in operation, this football committee is the one that most deviates from the principle.

Members of Congress are no strangers to delving into discussions about the Brazilian national team’s performance at the World Cup. 

During a congressional inquiry after the 1998 tournament in France — which Brazil lost to the hosts in the final — star player Ronaldo was hauled up in front of lawmakers and asked under oath if he had been instructed to mark Zinedine Zidane when the French midfielder scored his country’s second goal in a 3-0 win over Brazil.

Since the restoration of democracy in the 1980s, this will be the first year in which the World Cup is held after the presidential elections in Brazil. The tournament is usually held in July but was moved to November due to Qatar’s high summer temperatures.