August 26, 2015 / 5:51 PM / 3 years ago

Corinthians fans form political party in troubled Brazil

SAO PAULO (Reuters) - Corinthians fans have set up their own political party and are aiming to field candidates in Brazil’s next parliamentary elections, the party’s president told Reuters on Wednesday.

Soccer fans of Corinthians cheer their team during their Brazilian Serie A soccer match against Palmeiras in Sao Paulo, May 31, 2015. REUTERS/Paulo Whitaker

The new organisation is called the Corinthians National Party (PNC) and is hoping to win support not just from Corinthians supporters but from fans of all clubs unhappy with the status quo.

“There is a discontent with politics today,” Juan Moreno, the 38-year old dentist and party president, said. “Our goal is to get people interested.”

Brazil is experiencing a political crisis, with unemployment and inflation rising, the economy shrinking and scores of political and business leaders under investigation for possible involvement in a massive corruption scheme.

Morena said the PNC had no ideology of left or right but instead would focus on health, education, sport and the environment.

They are inspired by socially active football players, most notably those of the Corinthians Democracy movement of the early 1980s.

The movement was led by former Brazil captain Socrates and team mates Casagrande and Wladimir. They installed a democratic system at the club which allowed the players to vote on everything from new signings to travel plans and how to divide up win bonuses.

It came as Brazil suffered under a military dictatorship and was considered important in familiarising Brazilians with democracy as the junta gave up power and reintroduced civilian rule.

The PNC is a third of the way to collecting the 484,000 signatures necessary to be recognised as a proper party and hopes to field candidates in 2018 Congressional elections, Moreno said.

Whether Brazil, which already has more than 30 political parties, needs another one named after a football team is a matter for debate. Whether Brazil’s bankrupt and poorly-run football clubs are the place to look for inspiration, is another.

However, Corinthians fans are famous for their devotion and Moreno said if that passion can be harnessed then great changes can occur.

“Football has influence,” Moreno said. “We are all about the daily challenges parties are not discussing and the day to day problems that people face.”

Editing by Ed Osmond

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