Black Women of Brazil

The site dedicated to Brazilian women of African descent

World Cup: Whiteness of Brazil’s fans and coaching staff is equaled by other teams


Brazilian coach Luiz Felipe Scolari, known as Felipão, with star Neymar. At right, a shot of Brazilian fans in World Cup match

Brazilian coach Luiz Felipe Scolari, known as Felipão, with star Neymar. At right, a shot of Brazilian fans in World Cup match

Note from BW of Brazil: Although the 2014 World Cup in Brazil is projected to be seen by more than 3.2 billion fans, those with a more critical view of the game are taking notice of something else: the whiteness of teams’ coaching staffs and fans in the stands of the 12 Brazilian stadiums. In an obvious display of racial inequalities that BW of Brazil has been following for some time (see here and here), English journalist David Goldblatt found it strange to see such diversity on the field among players in contrast to those directing the teams and enjoying the games. The “blackout” of darker-skinned futebol coaches in Brazil can be analyzed through the experiences of Afro-Brazilian coaches like Jorge Luís Andrade da Silva and Roque Júnior, but it is a phenomenon that is not unique to Brazil. In his recent piece in The Guardian, Goldblatt wrote: 

“Given that the playing fields of the 2014 World Cup provide such a brilliant picture of the ethnic diversity and complexity of the world, it is not clear that the same can be said of the crowds or the coaching staff. Dutchman Patrick Kluivert is one of the very few black faces on a European coach’s bench. No Latin American team has a manager of African or indigenous origins. Ghana and Nigeria have opted for local coaches but Cameroon and Ivory Coast have Europeans in charge.”

Caught up in all of the hype and joy of the games as well presenting visually stimulating broadcasts, the mainstream Brazilian press is predictably silent on these facts. Given Brazil’s inability to deal with such issues in a straightforward manner or denying it altogether, this is to be expected. 

English journalist marvels over ‘white elite’ in World Cup matches

By Miguel Rosario

Colombian fans at the World Cup have been predominantly of European origin, in contrast to the more racially diverse national futebol team

Colombian fans at the World Cup have been predominantly of European origin, in contrast to the more racially diverse national futebol team

The Guardian has made an interesting critique of the World Cup which until now has not received any comment from our (Brazilian) press. An article written by David Goldblatt says that while the gramados (in English, pitch) show the intense mixture of Latin American countries, whose teams have excelled in the tournament, the arquibancadas (stands, in English) tell a “different story.”

2014 World Cup team of Columbia

2014 World Cup team of Columbia

It drew the attention of the reporter (I had also noticed this, but in relation to the Brazilian fans), the absolute hegemony of citizens of European descent in the fan cheering sections of the Latino nations. It is clear that the fact reflects historical inequalities on the continent, a reality that explains the emergence of popular, progressive governments, with public policies aiming to change this picture.

The article provides information and makes a much more complete analysis of the summary of this post. The problem happens not only with Latin American fans, but almost all countries. There have been incidents of racism among Argentines and Mexicans and the presence of banners with right-wing or even fascist inscriptions, observed among fans of Croatia and Russia.

In the end, the journalist warns that the world should be concerned about organizing an event that would celebrate diversity, pluralism and peace with increasing social and ethnic diversity of the fans.

How many of us

Brazilian fans at World Cup game

Brazilian fans at World Cup game

“Educafro, an NGO that combats racism, is protesting the lack of blacks in the stadiums of the World Cup – that the entity called, “apartheid padrão Fifa (FIFA apartheid standard).” “We are appalled,” says Friar David Santos, president of the organization. “We’re 50.7% of the Brazilian people, but how many black people are there in arenas?” – Mônica Bergamo, journalist – Folha de S. Paulo, 06/24/2014.

Brazil's 2014 National Team, known as the "Seleção"

Brazil’s 2014 National Team, known as the “Seleção”

Divided ball

“In response to a letter from Educafro last year, Jerome Valcke, secretary general of the federation, said in the World Cup ‘whites, blacks, indigenous peoples and immigrants’ would have the same opportunities to enjoy the event.’ For NGOs, the promise is not being fulfilled. The day before yesterday, the British newspaper The Guardian published a story about the lack of diversity in the stands.”- Mônica Bergamo, journalist – Folha de S. Paulo, 06/24/2014.

David Santos of the NGO Educafro sees apartheid in the stands of the World Cup

David Santos of the NGO Educafro sees apartheid in the stands of the World Cup

Divided ball 2

“FIFA confirms in a statement that its ‘goal is not just to benefit one group at the expense of others,’ but to favor the presence of all. ‘Most ticket purchases were through raffles, providing equal and fair chances for all Brazilians and foreign fans. FIFA has created conditions so that those interested from all social classes can watch the games,’” it affirms – Mônica Bergamo, journalist – Folha de S. Paulo, 06/24/2014.

Source: The Guardian, Jornal GGN, Assis Ramalho

9 comments on “World Cup: Whiteness of Brazil’s fans and coaching staff is equaled by other teams

  1. Rosaliene Bacchus
    June 29, 2014

    FIFA World Cup games: the amphitheater of our times.

  2. Antonio
    June 30, 2014

    What is idiotic is to think the football teams rather than crowds from Brazil or Colombia. Both teams are more African than the populations of both countries, just like the American dream team or the English team aren’t really representantive of either the US or England. But when it comes to Latin America double standards will always take place.

    Have a look at genetic studies. Both Brazil and Colombia are overwhelmingly non african genetically.

    • Your very point ends up proving the author right…plus there are areas of both countries (for example Colombia’s Chocó region, where MANY of the current players come from, that are OVERWHELMINGLY Black. But all the supporters that had the money to fly to Brazil and pay for games come from whiter, richer, cities (this is called structural racism)…Brazil and Colombia are also #1 and #3, respectively, in terms of African-descent population in the western hemisphere (USA is second)…how many black people in the U.S. have the money to fly to the Olympics and support the team? Same question for English blacks…oh, and how many supporters of African countries are we seeing in Brazil? Very few. This is not a coincidence, as much as you might want to think the reasons behind it are innocent.

  3. Pingback: “Circle of Horrors” – Poem by Brazilian Poet Waldo Motta | Three Worlds One Vision

  4. Marko
    July 11, 2014

    Question sir, with the over whelming anti world cup movement amongst many especially the marginalized in Brazil do you think poor Afro Brazillians would spend mobey onthe world cup? Or would they rather spend said money on clothing , food medicine etc etc . Just a thought. By the way I am a Jamaican born U.S. Citizen, living in New York and I am enjoying the Workd Cup games . I am also sympathetic to the plight of the poor Brazilians. Peace and love. GOD bless Brazil., 🙂

  5. JENNIFER YEARWOOD
    July 14, 2014

    IN EVERY SINGLE CONTINENT OR REGION OR SOCIETY CONTAINING ”BLACKS”, THE VEXING WHISPERED REAL PROBLEM ISTHE CLOSET-PIGMENTOCRATS OF THOSE PIGMENTOCRACIES, PRETENDING IT AINT SO, WHILST 1.PROPPING UP THE BILLIONDOLLAR SKIN-BLEACHING INDUSTRY 2,,,TALKING ”BLACK” WHILST SLEEPING ”WHITE” 3,EXPENDING ENERGY ON NOTING THE GRADATIONS OF PIGMENT 4 HAGGLING OVER / REFUTING / DENYING ONEs OWN ”BLACK”NESS,,,,,IT IS SO PATENTLY LUDICROUS TO HAVE PERSONS WHO ARE CLEARLY ”BLACK”, EG NEYMAR AND THE GOLDILOCKED PLAYER, SHOUTING FROM THE ROOFTOPS HOW MUCH SO THEY ARE N O T ”BLACK”….BUT ASK THE NEAREST CAUCASIAN TO DESCRIBE WHAT THEY SEE WHEN UYOU STAND BEFORE THEM AND YOU MIGHT GET AN UNWANTED REALITY CHECK

  6. al
    July 26, 2014

    The better question relates to the issue of pigmentocracy that you raise.

    Where are the unambiguously black players – like Pele – on the National Team.

    It appears that right in front of everyone’s eyes a pigmentocracy has been implemented in selection for the national team.

    Brazil’s prior World Cup Champion teams all had as its best players – unambiguously black player – Pele black. – unmixed.

    Where are they ?? how can the present team not have any considering their numbers in Brazil……we know who the best athlete are typically.

    It appears that for its big day on the international stage, Brazil’s racism reared its ugly head – a political choice was made NOT to have any unambiguously black players on the team – so that the world would not see how many blacks there are in Brazil.

    This is typical Brazil operating procedure isnt it ???..They rather lose the Cup than let the world know that Pele isnt the only Black Brazilian.

    • Marko
      July 27, 2014

      Although I am not Brazillian , as jamaican born American citizen. I can relate to the beautiful Brazillian people. Colorism is a issue in Jamaica, although Jamaica 90% black many people bleach their skin to get a light brown complexion ,. You see in Jamaica to be a ” brounin” it is seen as a climb in social status. However the poor people who bleach their skin,are still impoverished due to in many cases a lack of class connection,education and money. I personal beleive to each there own. Honestly I my self attracted to caucasian, light skin, asian women.Why? I beleive its psychological the way society progects beauty and femininity with “fair”

  7. pkayden
    August 10, 2014

    I assumed that White Latinos can afford to travel to Brazil for the World Cup, which may have explained their predominance in the stands.

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