December 7, 2023
Public Response to the Comments of the President of Palmeiras:
I understand that Ms. Pereira would be upset about our filing with the judiciary. Personal attacks, however, are not helpful to anyone, so I would not repeat such a practice in response. She has always been kind to me and I regret that the serious circumstances of arbitration error, and likely match manipulation, would position Botafogo as adverse to her interests. I remain committed to working with Palmeiras, and all clubs of Brazil, in support of a new league that will set appropriate standards of fair play for our national competition.
I have never suggested that she personally is responsible for the curious actions and outside forces that support her team’s success. Ironically, as she suggests that our inquiry must mean that I am ‘imbalanced’, I would remind her that it is a balanced and level playing field that we hope to achieve…for the benefit of all clubs, and for the benefit of Brazil.
On the topic of ‘balance’, it must be observed that her team lives in a world where ’11 v 10’ represents ‘balance’. Her team Palmeiras benefited from an ’11 v 10’ advantage 11 times during the 2023 season, a year during which teams in Serie A receive such a benefit 3 times, on average. Botafogo, which this year faced aggressive competition (enduring several well-documented violent actions) at no time enjoyed the benefit of ’11 v 10’. This statistic, of course, makes no mention of at least three obvious red cards that should have been issued to Palmeiras, as were well documented in the independant reports files with our STJD action. It is well-established that other clubs feel the same way, as Palmeiras has long been considered (before my arrival) to benefit from the biased compassion of referee protection.
Again, the issues of bias, error and manipulation have long been a problem in football. In the 2023 Brasileirao, we have provided evidence that shows the problem had a material effect on the outcome of the championship table. The only difference this year is that SAF Botafogo is the first to submit, to the governing judiciary, advanced analytics and independent confirmation of problems that we believe can be fixed in the future…for the benefit of us all.
Ms. Pereira…Congratulations on your 2023 Brasilierao.
Clarification of Public Comments
UPDATE: The following comments were prepared immediately after our controversial result against Palmeiras on November 1, initially for the benefit of the STJD. I wish to make it clear that I do not believe our team has responded well to the arbitration challenges (and competitive challenges) we have faced. The extreme level of errors (as independently verified) have largely subsided since the Palmeiras game and we have lost, on our own, several opportunities to reestablish our leadership. Our players know they must meet these challenges with maximum effort in order to compete for the Championship this year. That said, if journalists, club officials and governing bodies act to minimize this evidence as little more than the complaints of a club President that is unhappy with results, then we all will have lost an opportunity to improve our league for the better. I do believe that I am one of many that our government, in its wisdom, has invited to Brazil to bring a positive change - and I am committed to the evolution of Brazilian football until the Brasileirao has been re-established among the world's most respected leagues. So, please take these matters seriously - the people of Brazil deserve better, and the world deserves the best of Brazil.
In the aftermath of the Botafogo-Palmeiras result, my public comments have created significant discussion of the topic of Corruption - understandable because the abbreviated 'soundbite' was the kind of emotionally charged, controversial statement that is perfect content for widespread distribution, especially across social media. That said, please consider the full interviews, as it is clear that:
I made no accusation of financial corruption
I made no allegation of corruption against Mr. Ednaldo Rodrigues, or any other person
I made clear how the word 'corrupt' is often used in my lanaguage, in ways that are relevant to my concerns.
Corruption is a Perversion of Integrity
...as defined in the English language through which I speak, and as I intended when I spoke.
Corruption is a perversion of integrity, the alteration (or perversion) of something from its original course or state, to a distortion or corruption of what was intended. If 'integrity' refers to the state of being whole, unimpaired and sound in construction, then 'Corruption' is the perversion of that state which leads to contamination of the result. Engaged in Technology for nearly my entire professional life, I have come to know 'Corruption' as a word that is commonly used any time the integrity of a result has been challenged by significant error.
Corruption in Football - a Global Problem
What I know of corruption globally is that it exists. What I know of our game in Brasil is what I am told by our leadership in the CBF and the Ministry of Justice and Public Security, that we do have corruption in our game. In this very season of 2023, the MJSP and the CBF have alleged that powerful forces and betting companies have influenced players to alter their decision making during games. They formally launched an investigation into MATCH-FIXING in May 2023. I would therefore assume, and find it hard to believe, that such forces do not limit their bribery attempts to players alone, as there are many people in position to influence the outcome of a game. This was not the subject of my comments, but I accept on face value that our President of the CBF has committed to combat corruption, in all its forms. The allegation of corruption is the purview of the President of the CBF and the MSJP...and it is not for me to have an opinion of this, without any evidence. I would, however, respectfully suggest that neither I, nor Botafogo, should be punished for making public references to Corruption that are already part of a public debate (and investigation) launched by the CBF itself.
Though I have not made allegations of financial corruption, I do believe that the integrity of our 2023 Brasileirão has been corrupted by replete error and abuse of process. I also believe that we can demonstrate convincingly that such INCORRECT REFEREE DECISIONS (IRD's) have resulted in the REDUCTION of points from Botafogo (and others) and in the ADDITION of points to key rivals in chase. In this definition of the word Corruption, as defined above, I believe there has been a perversion of the integrity of our competition.
Please consider how this 2023 Brasileirao would look today, if not for material and continuing Incorrect Referee Decisions (all of which should have been corrected by VAR):
Thru 33 Games
Botafogo Official Points 60
Adjusted for Verified Error 8
Botafogo "Fair" Points 68
Thru 34 Games
Palmeiras Official Points 62
Adjusted for Verified Error -12
Palmeiras "Fair" Points 50
If not for IRD's and VAR failure, Botafogo would now be on the verge of confirming the
2023 Brasileirao Championship and Flamengo would be comfortably secure in 2nd place.
With respect to my public comments, as seen in the below videos, I wish to be clear:
I was not speaking only of the single red card of the Palmeiras game, but rather a series of decisions and actions (by referees and by executives) that have seriously challenged our leadership of the 2023 campaign
I was referring to results that have been corrupted by significant error, and processes that have been contaminated by an arrogant or corrupt state of mind
I reserve the right to question decisions and processes, in my language, with my choice of words - and I will do so without impugning the honor or integrity of individual persons - with a goal toward improving the game of football in Brasil
My call for Mr. Rodrigues to resign was certainly emotionally charged, after a series of arbitration errors and CBF decisions that I believe have materially affected this 2023 Brasileirao. My call for his resignation was not linked at all to my statements about corruption, other than my belief that a leader of an organization is the most accountable for the shortcomings of an organization. As they often say in sports, "if the team is losing, the coach must go" - and I believe the CBF has not been able to assure quality, consistency and accountability among its referees.
That said, I have never met Mr. Rodrigues and it certainly is not fair for me to call for his resignation, having never discussed with him his plans for the evolution and improvement of football in Brasil. I understand that he has communicated an effort to clean-up corruption (as classically defined) in Brasil and it was inappropriate for me to call for his resignation, while having no direct knowledge of his intentions.
Finally, I do look forward to the opportunity to meet with the Superior Tribunal de Justiça Deportiva de Futebol to clarify both the meaning and the intent of my public statements. I will present, in my defense, a comprehensive and independent analysis of the Arbitration Errors of the 2023 Brasileirao (to be delivered for consideration by the STJD, before public release), The analysis was prepared using the REF-EVAL® method, developed over 15 years of analysing players and referees performance data, provides more than 99% correct answers on all refereeing situations. The REF-EVAL® method leverages complex algorithms from artificial intelligence (AI) to identify all what are called IRD (Incorrect Referee Decision) to be opposed to CRD (Correct Referee Decision). Their analysis, which I will present at the STJD hearing, demonstrates convincingly that the integrity and points totals of our 2023 Brasieirao have been materially corrupted.
Please consider again my public comments in their complete, unedited form:
November 3, 2023
Our ambition is made clear by our name...BOTAFOGO
I am deeply and passionately invested in the communities I serve....and my love for the people of Brazil grows stronger with every embrace.
I was invited here, by people of wisdom in our government, to help bring change to the beautiful game of Brazil…and I will not back down when challenged by people in positions of power that will do anything, and say anything, to hang onto their power.
We are BOTAFOGO. I am here to Set Fire.