Monday 09 September 2019, 20:18

CBF campaign targets respect

  • The CBF has launched a campaign aimed at respecting referees

  • Its Refereeing Committee President Leonardo Gaciba discusses the initiative

  • The campaign has received a very positive response from players and public

“To make Brazilian football great – both on and off the pitch.”

That was Rogerio Caboclo’s goal when he assumed the CBF presidency in April. Everybody knows how segment one has gone.

Tite’s men conquered the Copa America – and without injured poster boy Neymar – and zoomed 17 matches unbeaten. Brazil’s women gave formidable France frights at the FIFA Women’s World Cup™ and, thereafter, cracked a coup by hiring one of the game’s greatest-ever coaches, Pia Sundhage.

Flamengo and Gremio are among the four candidates in the hunt to face Liverpool and Co at the FIFA Club World Cup Qatar 2019, Atletico Mineiro and Corinthians are in the Copa Sudamericana semis, and an enrapturing Brasileirao title race is thrilling the masses. It’s all smiles in a nation readying to host the FIFA U-17 World Cup.

Segment two is also making admirable strides. Video Assistant Refereeing has proven a major hit, while the CBF has been tackling multiple issues muddying ‘The Beautiful Game’ with the ferocity of a Dunga tackle. One is a recently-launched campaign titled Respect: This is the Ground Rule.

“The campaign we are launching is not just about respecting officiating,” said President Caboclo. “It is, largely, about respecting the rules and football. Our ultimate goal is for a better spectacle, with fewer cards for complaining, fewer stoppages in play and greater justice."

Leonardo Gaciba, a former FIFA referee – he was voted Brazil’s finest four years running – was appointed CBF Refereeing Committee President when Caboclo entered office. He has overseen the campaign.

“The idea was born inside the head of CBF President Rogerio Caboclo and developed by the CBF’s marketing department,” Gaciba told “It’s to show that a referee is a human being just like everyone else. A referee is not just someone who turns up on a weekend, picks up a whistle and officiates.

“They’re professionals who train, prepare, dedicate themselves. They have family like other human beings. They should be accepted and respected. If we respect the referees and the rules, it will spread and create a very good atmosphere for Brazilian football.

“We have to look at football as an instrument to modify Brazilian society. On the pitch, a player should act like they would like another citizen to act off the pitch.

“The fact that players are opponents doesn’t have to mean they are enemies. They are opponents in that moment, but we’re all human beings. And a team of officials is one more team in a championship. They’re not enemies of the players.”

Gaciba has been darting within Brazil’s vast borders to emphasise that point.

“For the first time, a CBF Refereeing Committee President is visiting all the clubs in Serie A, meeting with the players, discussing the criteria, showing them the campaign, showing them how video refereeing works,” he said. “The CBF and its Refereeing Committee wants to show its respect to the clubs, to the players, and to get their respect in return.

“The reception we’ve received from players and public has been wonderful, fantastic. It’s already been bringing great results. I think the Campeonato Brasileiro has improved. The campaign has really touched people.

“Our overall goal is to make football matches better – [to have] the ball in play for longer, less remonstrating, a better spectacle for the supporters. I think we’re seeing some really positive things.”