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Soccer: Brazil president's decree changes media, sponsorship rules

FILE PHOTO: Brazil's President Jair Bolsonaro wearing a protective mask looks on during the launching ceremony of the Plano Safra 2020/2021, an action plan for the agricultural sector, in Brasilia, Brazil, June 17, 2020. REUTERS/Adriano Machado/File Photo

(Reuters) - Brazilian soccer clubs are free to negotiate broadcast rights for own home games without requiring a green light from their opponents, according to a new decree issued by the country’s president on Thursday.

The law had previously only allowed transmission of games when both teams were in agreement. Matches at neutral venues will still need an accord between both sides.

The decree issued by far-right President Jair Bolsonaro also knocks down a 1998 law banning media companies from advertising on team uniforms and clears the way for new shirt sponsorship deals.

It allows clubs to sign players on 30-day contracts, down from the previous minimum of 90 days. Players will also automatically get 5% of the revenue from TV deals.

The decision comes a day after Bolsonaro, a keen soccer fan, appeared with a Flamengo badge on his suit and the same day Flamengo restart the Rio de Janeiro state championship after a three-month hiatus caused by the coronavirus pandemic.

Hours before the game was due to kick off Flamengo had not reached an agreement with their opponents Bangu over whether the match was to be televised.

The restart – the first of the traditionally important state leagues to begin playing again - has been criticised by players and clubs, some of whom think Brazil is not ready.

Brazil has had more deaths from COVID-19 than any other nation except the United States, with 1,269 reported on Wednesday, taking the overall death toll to 46,510.

Reporting by Andrew Downie, editing by Ed Osmond

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