Jersey brand

World Cup gives Brazilian fans chance to claim far-right yellow jersey | World Cup 2022

FFootball, once a great unifier of Brazil, has been a victim in recent years of the country’s polarized politics. The yellow and green football shirt, emblematic of a national team that has won a record five World Cups, is now shunned by many Brazilians who associate it with far-right incumbent President Jair Bolsonaro and his authoritarian nationalism .

“I used to be proud to wear the Brazilian football shirt. Not anymore. Now I’m scared,” said Regina Valadares, an editor from the southern city of Florianópolis. The shirt evokes “shame” and ” disgust” for the 43-year-old man because “he represents everything that is bad in this government”.

Now, however, Brazilians afflicted by such associations are hoping that the World Cup, which comes hot on the heels of Bolsonaro’s electoral loss to Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva last month, will be an opportunity to reclaim the colors and to reconcile the country with the amarelinhaas the world famous shirt is affectionately known.

“There is a fight for the shirt, which is part of a larger fight, a fight for Brazil and its national symbols,” said Luiz Antonio Simas, historian and author of a book on the Maracanã stadium in Rio. of Janeiro.

Pop stars and left-leaning politicians wore the canary yellow shirt during the election campaign in an attempt to reclaim it from the far right. More recently, the Brazilian Football Federation (CBF) launched a campaign to depoliticize the football shirt.

Amauri Bevilacqua, 29, said he will wear the amarelinha when Brazil play in the World Cup. To do otherwise would be “to let the other side appropriate a symbol that has always united all Brazilians, which is football”. But the Rio-based environmental engineer doesn’t yet feel comfortable wearing the jersey outside of match days for fear of being mistaken for a Bolsonaro supporter.

The wide appropriation of Brazil’s national colors by the right began in 2015 during protests against the government of Lula’s ally Dilma Rousseff, and have since become symbols of bolsonarism.

The political connotations of the colors have been reinforced by Bolsonaro supporters rejecting the election results. Photography: Buda Mendes/Getty Images

More recently, the political connotations of the colors have been reinforced by hardline Bolsonaro supporters rejecting the election results and blocking roads and camping outside army headquarters to demand military intervention.

To avoid confusion, progressive Brazilians adopt alternative versions of the amarelinha like those sold by Thainá Pinho, a 27-year-old business graduate from the working-class suburbs of Rio. Its line of yellow and green T-shirts, inspired by the retro version of the football shirt worn for the first time by the Seleção in 1954, features progressive symbols like the red star of Lula’s Workers’ Party or the LGBTQ+ flag.

“I hope that during the World Cup everyone will unite and wear the jersey, whether it’s with a red star or not,” said Pinho, who sees his Revolta Canária brand as part of a resistance movement against the appropriation by the extreme right of the national symbols of Brazil. .

Lula himself has urged Brazilians to embrace the faded colors. “We don’t have to be ashamed of wearing the green and yellow jersey. The jersey doesn’t belong to a political party, it belongs to the Brazilian people,” the president-elect said recently. tweetedadding that during the World Cup he would wear a yellow jersey emblazoned with the number 13 – the electoral number of his Workers’ Party.

But this process of reclaiming Brazil’s national symbols by the far right will not happen overnight, Simas warned. “Even with Bolsonaro’s defeat, a lot of people who don’t identify with that bolsonarist the far right don’t feel comfortable using the national team jersey again,” he said, adding that he was leaning towards wearing Brazil’s blue jersey in matches for the World Cup.

Football-mad Bevilacqua clings to a more optimistic view. He hopes Brazil will win their sixth World Cup and that a sporting victory could help heal the country’s divisions.

Brazil are the bookmakers’ favorite to win this year’s tournament, a title they last won in 2002 – the year Lula won his first presidential election. “It’s a good sign,” Bevilacqua said. “Maybe 20 years later, history will repeat itself.”