Top soccer clubs from Brazil’s first and second divisions met in Sao Paolo on Tuesday to discuss forming an alliance and tackle basic terms of a proposed breakaway league, people close to the discussions told Sportico.
Three competing groups have been set up to form the new super league, and up to now, two collections of Brazilian teams had been negotiating separately with the groups.
On one side, Brazil’s five elite soccer teams—Corinthians, Palmeiras, Santos, São Paulo, Flamengo—as well as Red Bull Bragantino, one of the energy drink makers two clubs in the league. On the other side, 11 teams from the first division’s middle tier and a few from the second division, Grupo Forte, have been in talks with the three parties intent on starting the new league.
According to people close to the deal, Grupo Forte and the elite-level clubs have decided to join forces to fast-track the birth of the new league.
The now-unified clubs are in discussions with three groups: one led by former Coca-Cola executive Ricardo Fort and lawyer Flavio Zveiter which is backed by BTG Pactual; another formed by commercial rights agency Live Mode; and a third led by investment bank XP, which has the backing of LaLiga, the top Spanish soccer league.
Tuesday’s meeting focused on the profit-sharing of TV rights and other financial details. In addition, a new meeting was scheduled for May 12 at the Brazilian Football Federation’s (CBF) headquarters in Rio de Janeiro. There, a total of forty teams from the country’s first and second divisions will need to unanimously agree on the new alignment. According to the Globo Esporte, Brazil’s top newspaper, the Santos president Andres Rueda said clubs will announce the forming of the new league then.
The three groups vying to run the league all have extensive experience in international sports and finance. Ricardo Fort’s group includes lawyer Flavio Zveiter, who represents Codajas Sports Kapital (CSK), his business partner Lawrence Magrath and outside consultants, including Charlie Stillitano from Relevent Sports and the former ESPN executive Scott Guglielmino.
Live Mode handles commercial rights for two regional tournaments in Brazil and regional sponsorship sales for the 2022 FIFA World Cup. The XP-LaLiga group is also aligned with the consultancy firm Alvarez and Marsal for structure and technology.
(This story has been updated with details of the teams and bidding groups in the third and fifth paragraphs.)