Sarney claims ‘betrayal’ as Rodrigues takes his FIFA Council seat

March 15 – The Confederation of Brazilian Football (CBF) president Ednaldo Rodrigues has ousted long-standing FIFA Council member Fernando Sarney (also Brazilian) as a South American representative on the world federation’s top body.

At a Comnebol meeting in the Rwandan capital, Rodrigues (pictured) took Sarney’s place at the top table of world football.

Rodrigues said: “Sarney’s presence created an atypical situation. Every member is represented on the Conmebol council and Brazil had two council members. It is often said that CBF asked for Sarney’s exit, but it was also CBF that had ratified his position as FIFA Council member.”

Rodrigues reportedly sent a letter to Conmebol demanding the removal of Sarney, a CBF vice-president, from both the Conmebol Council and the FIFA Council.

Sarney assumed the role when former CBF president Marco Polo del Nero stopped travelling outside of Brazil because of fear he could be arrested by US authorities – del Nero was one of those indicted in the FIFAGate scandal.

The current CBF president denied that he actively pushed for Sarney’s exit, but said that it was a matter of following the Conmebol statutes.

“As interim president, I had no pretense to take the role, but Conmebol considered it an atypical situation, including the president and all the FA presidents,” explained Rodrigues. “The role doesn’t belong to the presidency, but to the institution and in an exceptional period Fernando took the role because the president was not in a position to do so over legal questions, mainly over FIFAGate.”

Sarney will retain his role as one of the eight vice presidents of the CBF. He is however not a president of a state federation.

In an interview with UOL, Sarney skewered the CBF president. “My removal from the FIFA Council, in my opinion, was a betrayal, an act of ingratitude and an attempt is being made to publicize facts that are not true. I have no connection with Marco Polo and Marin and they never influenced my nomination. It’s a lie that Infantino asked for my removal. Ednaldo forgot the commitments he made, not only with me but with other people,” he said.

As of Thursday and the 73rd FIFA Congress, Rodrigues will be an acting member of the FIFA Council, but his new role is still subject to ratification at the next Conmebol Congress. The South American governing body will have to inform FIFA that Rodrigues is a new representative on the council for the confederation. The Brazilian came to power at the CBF first on an interim basis in August 2021, and then as president-elect in March 2022. He will serve until 2026.

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