In this article I want to draw an imaginary parallel between two things that we are advised not to discuss: football and politics. Today is a great day for fans like me. I will then make due efforts to not let emotion take over this imaginary comparison that I propose, and I promise to avoid passionate clubbing. But, as a lover of politics and football, I can’t deny the desire to share with you the parallel between these passions.
But when I get to the field, I start with dialogue with the market. Read SAF (Sociedade Anônima do Futebol).
Unlike the clubs that joined, FEC (Fortaleza Sport Clube) did not deliver everything to the market. He will use the SAF to gain muscle and increase its reputation in the market, regulating and creating new paradigms that make the club dialogue with the market without surrendering to the predatory logic of the SAFs.
The machine is lean, unlike what happens in most clubs and also in the State apparatus.
The club has little debt and investment capacity, despite having a much smaller budget than that of many clubs in the country, which demonstrates the efficiency of spending. Like some Brazilian states, clubs are affected by defaults, bankruptcies, late payroll and heavy, inefficient machines.
As a well-managed State, the club increases its credit and debt capacity, that is, it acquires plenty of morale in the football credit market to be able to invest in higher goals.
The basic rule: whoever demonstrates that they can pay, the more credit they receive.
By joining the SAF in the format in which it was created, Fortaleza innovated in management and business. The rights of athletes, fan partners, commercial contracts, ticket sales and other assets add to marketing reputation. And here I recommend football journalist Irlan Simões, who can speak to detail the process and give a very cool overview.
Lean machine, results in delivery and efficiency in spending make the club attractive to the ball market.
The same happens with States that have their accounts organized, strategic government plans and projects, spending control and investments coordinated based on evaluation and external social control to choose priority — since everything cannot be resolved.
For large projects and flights, the club has a strong back-up, and some elements are extremely important.
Leadership: the public and transparent behavior of a leadership that is capable of building a long-term plan. I’m not talking about a manager, but about the club itself, about a legacy that will be left and that will surpass Marcelo Paz, who today leads this journey with excellence.
Fortaleza has never shied away from taking a stand on important agendas, such as violence against women, racism and homophobia, often contradicting its own public, thus inaugurating a trajectory of change in mentality that comes from the top. And it goes down to the board in all its instances, passing through the cast and commission via Vojvoda, in a process of updating values consistent with the most humanitarian civilizational agreements.
Interlocution between bodies: board, technical committee, cast, club employees and fans. As in a State, it would be important to happen with secretariats, governors and/or mayors and the population that elects them — dialoguing together in the face of challenges, and under the pressure of permanent evaluation. You can understand why people are more attached to the club in terms of affection and demand than to the manager on duty in their city.
Not to mention that tensions and consensus building have managed to help organize the house and avoid natural splits when a group is in the spotlight.
In the case of Fortaleza’s transformation into SAF, the club itself drew up regulations to avoid deviations, excesses, adventures and personalism in management that could compromise the project, without denying itself from taking advantage of individual talents in each space.
It is the art of not letting egos, vanities and arrogance bog down a victorious project that rises through difficult times, from years in Series C to the peak of good placements in international competitions.
In the case of Fortaleza’s transformation into SAF, the club itself drew up regulations to avoid deviations, excesses, adventures and personalism in management that could compromise the project, without refusing to take advantage of individual talents in each space.
It installed a kind of “Pici Democracy” (Fortaleza’s place of origin), where decisions must meet the criteria of decisive bodies and the majority of members able to vote have total sovereignty over decisions.
It expanded transparency, social control and decision-making in more instances. The example could be followed by the Brazilian State: expand its decision-making spaces, extend forms of participation, qualify participation and engagement. This way, who knows, we would prevent politicians and managers, when they reach the leadership of the public sector, from acting in disregard of the interests of the population.
The relationship with the market is another attribute: the market is no longer an end in itself, as many clubs think, but a means. Fortaleza exposes the real relationship between the market and the State, a relationship full of misunderstandings. If on the one hand they accuse the State of being inefficient, despite its benefits for the private sector, on the other they demonize the private sector. SAF do Fortaleza wants to combine the best of both.
If this were happening in clubs in the south and southeast, it would receive a closer look and the examples cited here would be in the national spotlight. I will get it right? As with economic uncertainty, football also navigates turbulent seas.
At this moment, the club is moving forward, inspiring and setting an example. As well remembered by my friend Milly Lacombe, only Palmeiras managed to follow such a path of recovery and positioning.
Fortaleza, after all this trajectory of sacrifices, suffering, struggles and glory, knows that today’s game is tough, warlike, decisive. And I, as a fan passionate about football and politics, know that this legacy is not subject to the difficulties of the moment, nor to the challenges of the future. There is an ongoing project: evaluating the past so as not to make the same mistakes, living the present with feet on the ground, dedication, seriousness and a broad outlook with ambitious goals.
This path became not a project for managers, but a corporate culture. The correct thing would be to have policies in public management in which society feels that the State participates and belongs to its life — after all, the fan partner and the taxpayer are repositories of revenue and faith. The difference is that one receives it from an affective, symbolic and reputational point of view, and the other feels wronged and helpless.
Fortaleza and its SAF show an alternative route. A message that, like a good wind, blows from the northeast to the southeast, then to Brazil and the world: the notion that life requires passion, reason and creativity in equal doses. And Fortaleza has that in spades.