Rio de Janeiro: A dozen of Brazil’s 20 Serie A clubs have agreed to play in a breakaway competition next year, officials have confiormed.
Among the clubs to commit to the Sul-Minas league are Flamengo, Fluminense, Internacional, Gremio and Atletico Mineiro, reports Xinhua.
The competition would be a precursor to the national Serie A championship, Brazil’s top domestic league, which runs from May to December.
The Sul-Minas league’s inaugural two-month season has been tentatively scheduled for early 2015, according to the new entity’s president, Gilvan Tavares.
Brazil’s football confederation (CBF), which has previously opposed the initiative, is expected to address the issue at a board meeting later this month.
“This is a giant step,” Tavares said after a meeting of the participating club presidents on Thursday.
“Brazilian football is behind the times. The reason for the (state) federations and the CBF are the clubs. If they do not work with the clubs, why do we need them?”
Brazil’s domestic football scene has long been beset by corruption and an archaic structure that has left most of the country’s professional clubs mired in debt.
Among the major sources of frustration for the fans are the state leagues, considered the chief culprit for Brazil’s cluttered football calendar.
The leagues — whose seasons span around four months — attract little interest from the fans.
Bigger clubs say the state competitions only serve to prop-up poorer rivals, whose political support can make or break the ambitions of CBF powerbrokers.
Some media reports suggested on Thursday that the new league could go ahead even without the CBF’s approval.
Fluminense and Flamengo have already said they will field reserve teams during Rio’s state competition next year to prioritise the Sul-Minas league.
According to the Uol news portal, the nascent competition will provide clubs with additional revenue of about 80 million reais ($25 million) a year.