Stab Magazine | Brazil will Pay?
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Brazil will Pay?

Words by Craig Jarvis | Photos by WSL The World Surf League has become many things to many people. Unfortunately, many try and kick them when they’re down, or make scapegoats out of them. However, they’ve shown quiet resilience through their changes and they do stay the road. That road, to the best of their […]

news // Mar 8, 2016
Words by stab
Reading Time: 4 minutes

Words by Craig Jarvis | Photos by WSL

The World Surf League has become many things to many people. Unfortunately, many try and kick them when they’re down, or make scapegoats out of them.

However, they’ve shown quiet resilience through their changes and they do stay the road. That road, to the best of their ability is one of total transparency, which becomes necessary when fingers are being pointed.

Stab‘s recent Brazil Must Pay article elicited a reply from WSL VP of Communications, Dave Prodan, as well as Brazilian surf event organiser, Luiz Tuzino.

Mr Prodan was acquiescent to the situation at hand, as well as acknowledging the validity of the questions raised in the first article.

“It’s been an unfortunate situation for our QS competitors regarding payment from select events taking place during the 2015 season,” says Dave. “We understand this has a major impact on their livelihoods and abilities to do their jobs.”

But as Mr Tuzino, 35, from Sao Paulo and the event organiser for the timeously paying OI HD SP Open Of Surfing 2015 clarified, while there is a problem on the Brazil QS leg, the whole leg needn’t be tainted with the same brush.

“With regards to the four events held in Brazil – two QS10,000 and two QS6,000 events – within the nation, each state has different laws from each other,” said Mr Tuzino. “I can only speak for the laws for São Paulo, that directly affect the events I run. I cannot speak for the events that are run in Rio de Janeiro and Bahia, where payments were not made on time. Nor can I speak for the state of Santa Catarina, where from what I heard, all payments were made to the athletes.”

braz body

Alex Ribeiro got paid!

Stab: What about all the stories about the Brazilian government withholding money?
“It’s not really a ‘Governmental’ issue, but more of how sponsorship works in Brazil,” Mr Tuzino said. “If the regional government is one of the sponsors, or gives assistance through funding for sporting events, then they have the same responsibilities as any other sponsor.”

“However, in Brazil,” he continues, “the fact of the matter is that any contract you sign with the Government, no matter how large an amount, is only paid out after the event is finished and all of the agreed details within the contract are proven through photos, video and reporting.”

So, it’s a bit of a tedious process, as with any dealings on a governmental level?
“Precisely,” said Luiz. “This takes a while to be done, delivered to the sponsors and in turn, analysed and if everything is in accordance with the contract, payment is made available. Only then are Event Organisers able to make payment to the athletes and personnel.”

You pulled it off?
“Our event financial payments were all paid on time not only to the athletes, but the entire staff and providers in strict accordance with the WSL Rulebook,” said Mr Tuzino.

Yet, apart from contest organisers and WSL Communications officers talking the talk, the surfers on the ground do need something concrete done. They need their rightfully earned money in their bank accounts, deposited timeously.

While people might acknowledge and realise that there is a problem in Brazil, how are the WSL going to help the WQS surfers, who are in fact their athletes?
“The WSL has had long standing relationships with nearly all of the promoters it has worked with in Brazil,” said Mr Prodan. “The failure to pay prize money is an extremely rare occurrence. We are aware of the challenges caused by the financial climate in Brazil, which has impacted local promoters ability to pay prize money on a timely basis.”

braz

The beauty of Bahia from the water.

Will the situation continue into 2016? Will the surfers arrive in Brazil and surf the events in good faith, the same good faith that they surf events the world over and enjoy timely payments for their event results?
“The WSL is monitoring the situation and working with both local promoters and government officials to do everything in its power to ensure that payment is delivered as soon as possible to all competitors,” said Mr Prodan. “On top of this, The League is reviewing its internal policies to determine if adjustments should be made to ensure this situation does not happen again.”

What about Mr De Vries, as mentioned here, who isn’t coming to Saquarema in 2016? What if the rest of the international surfers choose to follow suit?
“That would be terrible,” he agreed. “I think what happened in 2015 was abnormal. Here in Brazil we’re in the middle of a major financial crisis and that definitely affected the entire country and added to these problems with the events. But that has never been the case with any of the surf events held in the past in Brazil. I’m sure that this was a singular issue and that all of the future events will only improve and increase. We work extremely hard to make this possible and we need the support of everyone involved.”

While it would be childish to claim the power of the pen or keyboard, it should be noted that two days after our initial article, surfers started getting paid. From all accounts, most debts have now been settled. Probably just coincidence…

Here’s to a great year of surfing in Brazil.

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