Brazilian clubs seeking slice of American pie

Wed Jan 14, 2015 7:57am EST
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By Andrew Downie

SAO PAULO (Reuters) - European teams have been making inroads into the U.S. with transfer deals, franchise partnerships and pre-season tours and now Brazilian clubs are seeking a slice of the action on and off the field.

Brazilians are investing in U.S. clubs and two Brazilian teams are in Florida this week for pre-season training and challenge matches against German sides.

Edu Gaspar, the former Arsenal player who is now Corinthians Director of Football, said: "For a long time now the club has been looking for an opportunity to promote itself in the U.S."

"We have managed to find an important competition with clubs that are equally important and under conditions that suit us."

Corinthians will this week play in the Florida Cup, a four-team tournament that includes Bayer Leverkusen, 1. Cologne and Rio de Janeiro's Fluminense.

Corinthians play Cologne and Fluminense face Leverkusen in Orlando on Jan 15. Two days later Corinthians take on Leverkusen and Fluminense meet Cologne in Jacksonville.

The Brazilian clubs will use the games as warm-ups for the state championships which begin at the end of the month but more important than facing top European sides are the commercial possibilities.