Football has become way too commercial.
From the shirts covered with sponsors, to the salaries surpassing 200,000 pounds a week, to the ordinary fans now priced out of games, I didn’t think it could get much worse.
That is until I heard the countdown to kick off over the tannoys at the European Championship. It’s hard to see how the game can sink to a more crass level.
And then there’s a day like today when something happens out of the blue to restore a little bit of my faith in football.
Thanks to @Pernambucogypsy I heard about Vitoria, a second division team from Bahia state who came up with the most novel campaign to encourage fans to give blood.
As I say in my Reuters piece (which you can read here)
Vitoria has removed the traditional red hoops from its shirt and told supporters it will add the colour back gradually as fans donate blood.
The club normally plays in a red-and-black hooped shirt, with white shorts and red and black socks. Before Saturday’s game against Avai, players wearing black-and-white hooped shirts carried a banner onto the field reading: “Vitoria has always given its blood for you. It’s time for you to give yours.”
Vitoria president Alexi Portela Junior said the club plans to add a red hoop back after each game, starting with next weekend’s match against Parana. The club has four red and four black hoops on its jersey.
“In this novel way we are making our fans aware of the importance of giving blood,” Portela Junior said.
The campaign comes just a few weeks after Sao Paulo, one of Brazil’s biggest clubs put the slogan “Give Blood” on their shirts for a game.
Vitoria, which based in Salvador, the capital of Bahia state, was founded in 1899 and is one of Brazil’s oldest clubs. It is famous for having launched players such as World Cup winners Bebeto and Vampeta, and current Chelsea defender David Luiz.
It currently sits in fourth place in the Serie B after eight games and is one of the favourites to gain promotion.
The give blood campaign already seems to have brought them luck on the pitch. In their first red-less shirt, they beat Avai 2-0.
Here’s the club video promoting the campaign. The web site has all the details of where and how to give blood.
It may be a smart marketing ploy. But that’s fine by me. It’s for a good cause. Everybody wins.