Romario sets sights on Brazilian FA presidency and demands prison for CBF’s old guard


By Samindra Kunti

September 19 – Brazilian football legend Romario has confirmed that he wants to run for the presidency of the Brazilian FA (CBF) and oust the incumbent Marco Polo Del Nero, whose tenure has been mired in corruption accusations. 

“I have nothing against the CBF, my problem is with the bad people who are part of the institution and have no interest in improving football,” said Romario in an interview with local media.  “Seriously, I would love the opportunity to be the president of the Brazilian FA and I am fully aware of the difficulties in changing the system.”

The Brazilian footballer-turned-senator is also contemplating a candidacy to govern Rio de Janeiro for his party Podemos. He supported incumbent mayor Marcelo Crivella from the Partido Republicano Brasileiro during the elections, but has revised his opinion about Crivella.

“I was deceived by Crivella, just as the people of Rio were,” said Romario. “From the beginning, he said he was going to take care of the people, but in his almost ten months in the city, he has been taking care of his family and friends, less so of the people of Rio. It’s sad, it’s lamentable what’s happening in the prefecture through the mayor – and I, unfortunately, supported this.”

Romario still believes that Michel Temer is the right man to lead Brazil, but his ire largely remains reserved for the CBF. He claimed that Del Nero, the current CBF president, only wants to “get rich” and leave the country’s population “poor”. Romario recently launched his book ‘Um olho na bola, outro no Cartola – O Crime Organizado no Futebol Brasileiro’ in which he elaborates on corruption in the Brazilian game based on the Parliamentary Inquiry Commission he led.

Romario pointed the finger clearly at Del Nero and his predecessors Ricardo Teixeira, who was investigated for his role in a domestic corruption scandal and Jose Maria Marin, who was placed under house arrest by the FBI following the FIFA corruption scandal.

“What we from the CPI expect is that the people involved, especially the nine indicted administrators, will pay for the crimes they committed during the period that we have been able to investigate,” said Romario. “Chain them! Not only do I believe in the imprisonment of Marco Polo Del Nero – I think that the competent bodies of our country have shown that the majority of those who have been enriching themselves illicitly are beginning to pay for their mistakes. I believe that Ricardo Teixeira and Del Nero, in addition to the other indictees, will really pay for all the bad things they have done to Brazilian football.”

Marin is currently under house arrest in New York, awaiting his trail, which will begin at the start of November. Romario didn’t mince his words either for Marin. “…He’s going to have his trial now and I hope he will actually be imprisoned to pay for everything he did during his term as CBF president – a short time [to commit] so many crimes.”

The former player is also considering setting up a CPI to investigate the financing of the 2016 Rio Olympic Games. The home of Carlos Nuzman, the president of the Brazilian Olympic Committee and the man credited with securing the 2016 Games for Brazil, was raided on earlier this month as Brazilian and French authorities said they had uncovered an international corruption scheme aimed at buying votes in awarding the Games.

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