Brazil vs Italy… In London

At The Emirates Stadium in London this evening, a prime example of the globalising force of football can be seen as Brazil take on Italy in a friendly international. Over the last decade or so, Brazil have started to more and more resemble a footballing equivalent of the Harlem Globetrotters, crossing the line between friendly international matches and exhibition matches being played at the behest of the highest bidder. Tonight’s match is being laid on by the Swiss sports rights agents Kentaro, who are pretty open about the motivation for it all: “it is a compromise to the big clubs that players do not have to fly across the Atlantic, there are Brazilian fans all over the world, and it is impossible to generate the same revenue in Brazil”, they said, confirming that these fixtures are primarily being played for one reason. It has to be said that there is a certain logistical sense to Brazil playing some of their qualifying matches in London. The CBF, the Brazilian Football Association, will earn itself few friends amongst Europes top clubs if they fly Europe’s top players out to South America every few weeks or so during the club season. It makes sense from a commercial viewpoint, too. Playing the match during peak hours for a European television audience will maximise the revenue for the live broadcasting rights, and playing it...

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