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Brazilian clubs face big challenges

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With the focus on the Brazilian national team, it should be remembered that the country's clubs face big financial and other challenges.   Flamengo claims to have the biggest fan base in Brazil of 40 million supporters, but the club has been close to bankruptcy after years of poor management and financial neglect.

When a group of businessmen took over, one of the first tasks was to restructure the club's R$700m debt, which included unpaid taxes, wages and other bills.  Such problems are common in Brazilian football, forcing them to sell their best players to European clubs to make ends meet.

The club has doubled its revenue, estimated by Deloitte at $74m before the restructuring at €74m and even improved the pitch.  However, like many Brazilian clubs, it is run by a huge board, one thousand in Flamengo's case, of which three hundred might turn up at a meeting.