Disaffection grows in Brazil with the ‘canarinha’ shirt after being “kidnapped” by the extreme right

Lula criticizes Bolsonaro’s use of national symbols and affirms that he will wear the national team’s jersey at the World Cup in Qatar

At least a quarter of the Brazilians who will watch the tournament will leave the shirt in the closet because of the political connotations

On the eve of the first round of the elections in Brazil, the still president Jair Bolsonaro invited his compatriots to go to the polls wearing the national team shirt, even threatening to resort to the Armed Forces if someone forbade them from using their right to vote that way.

“I am going to order the Armed Forces, which will participate in security, that there are no elections in any polling station that is prohibited from entering with the green and yellow shirt,” said Bolsonaro, who has explicitly used soccer as a political instrument.

What Bolsonaro was doing when he said that was spreading a hoax that emerged on social networks about the prohibition of wearing the national team shirt to go vote. The Superior Electoral Tribunal (TSE) had to come out to deny that, but the damage had already been done.

Bolsonaro and his followers have appropriated a national symbol that until now had served to unite a society that has always boasted, and rightly so, of having the most successful national team in world football. So much so that the Brazilian federation (CBF) has had to launch a campaign on the eve of Qatar 2022 under the slogan “Yellow Cards does us so much good” to try to unlink the political character that Bolsonaro and his followers have impregnated in recent years. .

Already in August it was the company of the most consumed beer in the country, Brahma, who launched an advertising campaign in which Brazilians were asked to “remember the original meaning” of this shirt. “Take the yellow one out of the closet and put it on, it’s yours, it’s mine, and it belongs to all our fans,” said that commercial.

“Jair Bolsonaro’s far-right has destroyed everything in its path, including the affection we had for the yellow shirt,” says Walter Casagrande, striker for the team at the 1986 World Cup in Mexico and, above all, one of the leaders along with Sócrates de the one known as ‘Corinthian Democracy’, in full military dictatorship.

Casagrande, now a commentator and collaborator in various media outlets, is one of the soccer figures in Brazil who has been most critical of the Bolsonaro government, the soccer players, and even this World Cup. In a recent article for ‘Folha de Sao Paulo’ he wondered why they should cheer for the team when most of the players “did not fight on the side of the Brazilian people” in the most difficult moments.


Now, on the eve of their first match in this final phase this Thursday against Serbia, some of the Brazilians who did not vote for Bolsonaro find themselves in the dilemma of whether or not to use national symbols that these days can be seen in anti-democratic demonstrations in those dissatisfied with the victory at the polls of Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva ask the Army for military intervention.

While Bolsonaro has achieved something that was not seen even during the military dictatorship, that some Brazilians renounced the yellow jersey of the national team, among the left there are also many who believe that they have “failed” letting the extreme right appropriate these symbols.

However, Bolsonaro has not invented anything new, he has simply taken the next natural step of using soccer as a political weapon. Already in the previous governments of the Workers’ Party (PT), the opposition took to the streets to protest dressed in the national insignia and other football symbols shouting slogans that have been heard again now, such as ‘my flag will not be red ‘ and ‘my party is Brazil’.

But the use of the national team jersey among these very conservative sectors of Brazilian society reached its maximum expression with the removal of former president Dilma Rousseff in 2016 and the imprisonment of Lula da Silva a year later.

The iconic yellow shirt has given way to the no less recognizable blue jacket, which Brazil uses as an alternative, and which for many will now become the main one, in an attempt, it seems, to distance itself from the tortious use that the ultra-right has made of it. in recent years.

At least a quarter of the Brazilians who plan to watch the Qatar 2022 World Cup think so and will not use it, according to a survey published last week by the Metropoles news portal. In that same poll, even 9 percent assured that their relationship with the team worsened after the elections.

Perhaps some of these new disaffections have appeared after several of the footballers of the current team have declared their support for Bolsonaro, explicitly as in the case of Neymar –it remains to be seen if he will dedicate his first goal in this Copa del Rey to him as he said. Mundo–, or in a somewhat more veiled way, like captain Thiago Silva or veteran Dani Alves.

Among those who refuse to leave the yellow shirt in the closet is the president-elect of Brazil, Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, who has already criticized during the campaign and after the elections the use that Bolsonaro and his associates have been making of national symbols and stressed that he will dress her in the World Cup.

By Editor