In a ceremony at the presidential palace with top executives of Brazil football sector, president Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva signed on Thursday the bill that creates Timemania (Teammania), a lottery game that will use 80 Brazilian football teams logos instead of numbers.
Teammania aims at equilibrating the finances of local football clubs, which are on the verge of bankruptcy, especially due to debts with the government, estimated to total 900 million reais (417 million U.S. dollars).
Government bank Caixa Economica Federal (CEF) will be responsible for operating the game, which is expected to generate up to 500 million reais (231.5 million U.S. dollars) per year.
At first, 22 percent of Teammanias revenues will be used to pay the teams debts with the public health care system and pension agencies; after that, the clubs will start to pocket the lottery money. Each team will have a separate account with the government/CEF.
Brazil sports minister Orlando Silva said in the ceremony that Brazilian teams will make use of Teammanias revenues to keep and qualify their players, instead of selling their rights out to foreign teams.
Rio de Janeiros Fluminense football club president Roberto Horcades welcomed the creation of the lotto game.
"Firstly, Teammania is an intelligent way to pay an unaffordable debt. Secondly, it is the effective recovery of football. And thirdly, a future planning for us to reinvest in the junior football divisions," said Horcades.
During the ceremony to sign the bill, president Lula also supported Brazil's bid to host the 2014 FIFA World Cup, but admitted that the country would still need to build 12 new stadiums so as to fulfill FIFA's standard demands.