Brazilian power struggle: Prosecutor targets Del Nero and CBF board for busting rules

Marco Polo del Nero

By Samindra Kunti

July 25 – Rio de Janeiro’s public prosecutor has requested the immediate removal of CBF president Marco Polo Del Nero (pictured) and the organisation’s board over irregularities during its general assembly in March.

The Brazilian FA violated Lei Pelé when it held a meeting in March without the presence of club representatives from Brazil’s top tier leagues, according to the prosecutor of the State of Rio de Janeiro. They want to replace Del Nero, his four vice-presidents and the CBF board with an interim auditor.

The CBF held their meeting at the end of March, a day before Brazil’s important World Cup qualifier away to Uruguay.  The 27 presidents of the state federations, the power base of the CBF, were present and voted to change the governing body’s statutes over the presidency and the weight of clubs’ votes.

The State Federations enjoy more power under the new statutes, with a different weight assigned to the votes of federations and clubs respectively: three for states, two for top flight clubs and one for Serie B clubs. As a result, the clubs were made powerless when it came to bloc voting.

In an official statement the prosecutor noted that “what is understood, therefore, is that the CBF manoeuvered to approve new statutes, providing for a differentiated criterion of weight of the votes that prevents the clubs from having a majority in the elections.”

The Brazilian FA has denied any wrongdoing. “The CBF reaffirms its absolute conviction that the gathering and deliberation of the said general assembly complied with all the procedures provided for by law, an opinion endorsed by some of the most important jurists in the country,” read a statement.

It is unclear if the prosecutor’s move is political in any way. For years Brazilian authorities and justice refrained from touching the CBF or intervening in the organization’s internal management. But FIFAGate has opened a can of worms that has hit Brazilian football and its reputation badly, with intense scrutiny on the CBF.

Current CBF president Del Nero, together with  his  predecessors  Ricardo Teixeira and José Maria Marin, is suspected of having taken millions in kickbacks from the sale of broadcast rights. In 2015 Del Nero was indicted by the DoJ on an array of corruption charges, but of the dozens of football officials the CBF president is the only one still in power. Brazil only extradites its citizens for drug crimes.

With an outstanding warrant for his arrest, Del Nero has not travelled abroad recently. FIFA’s ethics committee also opened its own investigation into Del Nero after the United States filed charges against the Brazilian official.

Last week former CBF strongman Teixeira came under intense pressure as Spanish prosecutors requested his arrest.

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