Cruzeiro’s financial problems generated yet another chapter of erosion of the club’s image in the Brazilian football scene. The strike of players in protest for back wages opens wide again the ailments of an institution that has debt close to R$ 1 billion and is close to staying for the third year in a row in the Series B of the Brazilian Championship.
If the moral and institutional damage were not enough, the lack of payment of salaries to athletes and administrative employees can cause even greater damage, with administrative penalties applied by the Superior Court of Sports Justice (STJD). Among these, the loss of points in national championship matches.
“By the competition rules, the club that is in default, will be subject to the loss of three points per game to be played, after the delay and default by decision of the STJD are recognized”, says the lawyer specialized in sports law, Louis Dolabella, to UOL Sport.
The lawyer recalls: “the law assures the athlete that, if his salary is late, in whole or in part, for two months or more, that he even refuses to compete”. And the lawyer continues: “the situation can become even worse, since article 17 of the specific regulation of Series B provides for punishment for clubs that are in arrears with the payment of remuneration for a period equal to or greater than 30 days”, he adds. Dolabella.
However, the lawyer highlights that the punishment is not automatic: “proven to be the debtor club, it is up to the STJD to grant a minimum period of 15 days for the club to meet its financial obligations in arrears, in order to avoid the application of the penalty of loss of points”, concludes.
Will the club be punished?
However, there is a way to be followed for the club to receive this type of punishment.
“Only if there is a manifestation of the athletes or the representative union of the class [Sindicato dos Atletas de Futebol no Estado de Minas Gerais —SAFEMG] with the Superior Court of Sports Justice. From there, a complaint is generated and the investigation begins, the analysis of all the facts, whether the salaries were paid or not. Now, from the prosecutor’s office, there is no way, only if there is an official manifestation, a notice of violation within the STJD to open the process. The court moves through provocation. Therefore, if provoked, obviously, the prosecution will investigate”, guaranteed the attorney general of the STJD, lawyer Ronaldo Piacente, in an interview with UOL.
In a letter signed by Cruzeiro’s squad and posted by goalkeeper Fábio, on Instagram —and later replicated by most of the players—, the athletes demand from the Cruzeiro board an answer to the problem that involves the late salaries not only of athletes, but of other employees of the club.
“We inform the management of Cruzeiro Esporte Clube that we will be awaiting the fulfillment of the obligations as soon as possible, and it is regrettable to see the suffering of employees who dedicate their days to maintaining this centenary and victorious institution”, says part of the letter from the celestial professional athletes.
What does SAFEMG say?
The lawyer of the Union of Football Athletes in the State of Minas Gerais, Vitor Schetino, says that SAFEMG is on the side of the athletes and is following the case closely. However, he confirms that he will not make any official complaint to the Superior Court of Sports Justice.
“We we talk with main cast leaders and we’re supporting what they’re doing. It will be a training stoppage for now. As the next game is only next week, there may be some news regarding the positioning of Cruzeiro’s board. So athletes will wait. ANDwe are available to athletes for whatever it takes, but, at the moment, they [jogadores] they just wanted to make the case public. We will support their decision, monitor the case before taking it a step further, which will only be done with the athletes’ consent. Therefore, for the time being, there will be no official denunciation,” Schetino assured the UOL.
six months late
The official document produced by the players and released by the team leaders points out that there was an accumulation of up to six months of salary delays: “which demonstrates the precarious financial situation to which all employees are exposed, who are currently being helped by the financial aid/aid of the professional athletes to maintain basic survival needs,” highlighted the players.
“We confess that it is exhausting and distressing to write this letter to achieve rights. Due to the unsustainable conditions, we will not remain silent. For this reason, we are here to give a voice mainly to employees who have suffered from the current situation,” they complained in another excerpt .
What does the National Federation of Athletes say?
The president of the National Federation of Professional Football Athletes (Fenapaf), Felipe Augusto Leite, said that it is the obligation of the local union to denounce the clubs’ abuses against athletes.
“Measure [denúncia] it has to come from the athletes’ union in Minas Gerais, Fenapaf is a second instance body, let’s say. The union must make the case public and notorious and has the obligation to notify the club so that within 48 hours, a reasonable period, all proof of payment is presented, if everything is correct. If not, a deadline is given to bring everything up to date. If the union is inoperative, anyone can sue the Public Ministry of Labor (MPT) through a complaint. Then, the MPT will take the appropriate measures for the ineffectiveness of the class entity”, explained the president of Fenapaf to the report.