By Thiago Vasconcelos | Translation: Aryadne Oliveira
Going beyond the green fields and stadiums, soccer is a sport that has established itself in the modern world as a very important way of socialization between people. It is an event that connects people in affiliations, groups and institutions. For this reason, soccer became a subject of study by Sociology that sees in this sport the consciousness of the individual to participate in a collective – its fan base. On the other hand, the individual also sees himself symbolically represented by an institution – in this case, his team.
To an individual, all of the aspects and the context that surround the soccer game will represent to him a mix of immediate needs, the experiences of struggles and the achievement of and results. Through this sport, open spaces will be create to allow the community’s experience. Sociology shows that in Brazilian popular culture there is no other manifestation that matches with the sport of soccer. It is the expression of joy and popular art, expressing thus harmony between the individual and collective. When somebody says, for example: “I am Flamengo”, this “I” represents the individuality, the “am” represents the identity and “Flamengo” represents the team, the community.
The Soccer Fan Clubs in Stadiums
(“Torcida Organizada” in Portuguese)
In Brazil, organized supporters of soccer teams shouldn’t be seen only as a phenomenon of a sport, but also as a social- political and cultural phenomenon, since it reflects the difficulties and the problems faced by a whole society. Called also fan clubs, these organized supporters were born in the “charangas” (Brazilian Term). Today, they are hierarchical and independent institutions. They adopt uniforms, mascots, gestures and symbols of their own. However, due to the unresolved social matter in the country, the organized supporters clubs – “popular institutions”, have chosen the way of crime and violence. There is rivalries between soccer teams, fan clubs; and also vandalism and the drug traffic are eminent in the places attended by them.
The majority of the supporters are between 18 to 24 years old, but it is possible to see children under ten years old participating in this type of affiliation. Around 15% of their members have criminal records. We can compare the destructive and licentious behavior of the Brazilian soccer fan clubs with the European Hooligans, in that they follow a right extreme right wing party, almost fascist. Which means that, they are not a result of the social discrepancy, but the difference of political ideologies.
At the same time it is important to emphasize the positive side of these affiliations, such as the beautiful event built by the Fan clubs in the stadiums that offers an unforgettable experience of enhancement that can not be ignored. Furthermore, the social and charity work done by them should also be remembered. Poor people from poor neighborhoods are helped by the soccer fans organizations with food baskets, toys, clothes and groceries.
The corruption in the soccer
As seen, soccer reflects the problems of society. And one of the problems of Brazilian society is corruption. The “Knack” and the culture of “taking advantage” also permeate the country’s sport of soccer. In the first decade of this century the “Scandal of Sports Lottery” and the cases of the “Brazilian championship turnabout’s” as well as “the whistle mafia” demonstrate very well that “Brazilian Cordiality”. Leaders, influential people, officials, and clubs have benefited from theses major scandals and schemes. Today, however, like our society, soccer is going through a process of reorganization and moralization (we hope).