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Brazil opens football graft probe, likely to abstain in FIFA vote
May 29, 2015, 4:40 am

Brazil's football body, CBF, chief Marco Polo del Nero (right) left Zurich on the eve of FIFA's presidential election to return to Brazil [Image: CBF]

Brazil’s football body, CBF, chief Marco Polo del Nero (left in photo) left Zurich on the eve of FIFA’s presidential election to return to Brazil [Image: CBF]

As FIFA grapples with a body blow after a US probe into corruption, Brazilian football officials are also under the scanner.

Following the FIFA probe and US Attorney General Loretta E. Lynch revealing corruption was involved in Brazil’s sponsorship with a major US sportswear company, Nike, Brazilian authorities on Thursday launched their own probe into football corruption in the country.

Brazil’s Justice minister Jose Eduardo Cardozo said in a statement he had ordered federal police to investigate claims of graft in the dealings of Brazilian football officials.

Nike signed an estimated $150million deal with the Brazilian Football Confederation (CBF) in 1996 and still has a deal with the association.

Brazil is likely to abstain from Friday’s presidential vote at the FIFA Congress that pits beleaguered incumbent Sepp Blatter against the Prince of Jordan, Ali bin al-Hussein.

This was indicated as Brazil’s football body, CBF, chief Marco Polo del Nero left Zurich on the eve of FIFA’s presidential election to return to Brazil.

Blatter, 79, is the favorite to be reelected for a fifth four-year term.

Governing bodies of US, Canada, EU and Australian football bodies have announced they will not vote for Sepp Blatter on Friday.

Russian President Vladimir Putin has criticised the US probe saying it is an attempt to prevent Blatter’s re-election.

“I don’t doubt a bit that this is a clear attempt to not allow the reelection of Mr. Blatter to the post of FIFA president, and this is a crude breach in the principles in the functioning of international organizations. Unfortunately, our American partners are using such methods to reach their own selfish goals and are doing it illegally, persecuting people,” Putin told journalists in Moscow.

Brazil announced its probe a day after Swiss police arrested seven FIFA officials for alleged fraud, racketeering and money laundering.

Among those detained in Zurich was Jose Maria Marin, the president of the Brazilian Football Federation (CBF) from March 2012 to April this year.

Brazilian Jose Hawilla, the founder of sports marketing company Traffic Group, was named by the US Department of Justice as a convicted defendant who has already pleaded guilty to US corruption charges.

The CBF said on Thursday it had handed over documents related to the entity’s commercial contracts to federal prosecutors.

“The CBF manifests its support to any investigation and is available to provide additional clarification if necessary,” the organization said on its website.

Prosecutors in Brazil are expected to probe allegations that CBF officials accepted kickbacks for a national team sponsorship deal and the Copa do Brasil marketing rights.

Meanwhile CBF president Marco Polo del Nero pointed fingers at disgraced former FIFA exec Ricardo Teixeira for the marketing contracts identified as corrupt by US federal authorities.

 

TBP and Agencies

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