The head of Brazil’s soccer federation resigned on Monday two years before the South American country hosts the World Cup, putting an end to a 23-year career marked by an unmatched championship record over that period and accusations of corruption off the field. He is replaced by his deputy chief Jose Maria Marin, a former governor of Sao Paulo.
Ricardo Teixeira, who has suffered bouts of ill health this year, took Brazil to three World Cup finals during his long career, winning soccer’s top tournament twice, even as he faced investigations by Brazil’s Congress over alleged irregularities. The British Broadcasting Corp. named him as a beneficiary of bribes paid by FIFA bankrupt former marketing partner ISL in a separate case. He has denied the allegations.
I am definitively leaving the presidency of the CBF, with the feeling that I have reached the end of my time, read the missive, which was relayed by Marin during a press conference.
It is not easy to oversee a passion. Football in our country is known for two things: talent and disorganisation. When we win, the talent is exalted. When we lose, [it is] our disorganisation.
“I did what was within my reach, sacrificing my health,” the 64-year-old Teixeira said in a written statement today. “I was criticized in the losses and undervalued in the victories.”
Planning for sport’s most-watched tournament has faced troubles including a deteriorating relationship between soccer’s international ruling body and the Brazilian government. Last week, FIFA President Sepp Blatter was forced to issue an apology after Jerome Valcke, general secretary of the organization, said Brazil needed a “kick up the ass” to be ready for the tournament. A planned inspection visit scheduled for next week has been cancelled.
Teixeira resigned as both president of Brazil’s soccer federation, or CBF, and as head of the committee responsible for organizing the 2014 World Cup, according to the CBF press office in Rio do Janeiro. Marin also replaces Teixeira in the organization of the 2014 event.
The BBC has also accused other FIFA officials, including Joao Havelange, Teixeira’s former father-in-law who preceded him as head of the CBF, of accepting payments. He denies the charge.
“Today we can celebrate,” Romario De Souza Faria, a former Brazil forward who is currently a lawmaker, wrote on his Facebook page. “We have exterminated a cancer from Brazilian football. Finally Ricardo Teixeira resigned from the CBF.”
However Romario also had a message for Marin: I hope that the new president Jose Maria Marin, who stole a medal from a Corinthians player during the Copa Sao Paulo de Juniores, does not make that a habit in the Confederation. Sir, now we have to exterminate the Aids.
Teixeira had been head of the CBF since 1989 and sat on FIFA decision making executive committee since 1994. That body has found itself engulfed in corruption claims against several of its members since the vote for future World Cup hosts in 2010. At one point, almost half of its 24 members were either sanctioned or faced accusations of corruption. A year later the organization’s presidential election ended with the only challenger to Blatter, Mohamed Bin Hammam, dropping out after being accused of paying $40,000 to Caribbean voters. Bin Hammam is appealing to sports’ top court against a life ban from soccer.
Teixeira’s resignation comes at a time when FIFA is attempting to reform itself.
A group set up last year headed by Swiss lawyer Mark Pieth, including former U.K. Attorney General Peter Goldsmith and US soccer head Sunil Gulati have yet to determine whether it will look into past allegations of wrongdoing.
FIFA has also delayed the publication of documents that name officials of the organization who have allegedly received bribes linked to ISL, according to the Zurich-based body.