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Patricia Amorim. First female President of Flamengo and of any major Brazilian club.

… And before celebrating, we must talk of serious matters.

For some stupid reason, Flamengo’s Presidential election was held the Monday after the last game of the season. So instead of being here talking about the Greatest of Events, I’m here talking electoral politics.

Like most major clubs in South America, Flamengo is a multi-sport athletic association, not privately owned but run by an elected official, normally in three-year terms. Patricia Amorim, a former swimmer for Flamengo, surprisingly dethroned the situation the day after a major victory for the football team.

Patricia had already been part of Flamengo’s administration for over three years, but she was forced to resign from her position as Olympic Sports Vice-President during a major financial crisis in the club earlier this, that left the basketball team with over six months of overdue salaries, not to say about other sports like swimming and gymnastics and the staff.

Delair Dumbrosk, who was running for the situation, was the Executive Vice-President at the time, and has been running the club for the great part of this year, due to President’s Marcio Braga chronic hard condition that had him in and out of surgery. His victory was given as certain in case of a Flamengo title. He shunned the debates and other forums and run on a “you don’t wanna risk changing things now” campaign. It didn’t work.

The problem is that Patricia, a member of Rio de Janeiro’s city council, ran a very “political” campaign, full of nothing  and some more nothing. I listened to the debate for 2 hours and not once a heard a single concrete proposal coming out of her mouth. There was a lot of buzzwords like “professionalism” and “21st Century”, but nothing relevant.

Not that the other candidates were much better. Pedro Ferrer sulled, Clóvis Sahione screamed like a madman about nothing important, Lysias Itapicurú was as charismatic as John Kerry (and as relevant, too). Plínio Serpa Pinto did present some ideas, some good, some bad, but all very concrete. If I could vote, he would have been the one.

But Patricia was the one with the most supporters. I got to give it to her, in the minefield that is Flamengo politics, she had always been able to aggregate instead of divide. Now the question is if that was because she wasn’t in power.

There is a lot of fear that she will sink football, because she is more worried about the olympic sports, her home base.  Or that she will bring us something akin to the terrible disorganization and corruption of the 90’s, when, from being a club with a budget that ran on a surplus, we became a club with a debt of over 170 million dollars. If any of that is substantiated, I don’t know. I am, surprisingly, giving her the benefit of the doubt. She has three years to prove herself.

Godspeed, Madam President. A nation is in your hands.

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