RIO DE JANEIRO: A new strong man is emerging from behind the scenes in Brazilian football after Marco Polo del Nero was appointed to succeed scandal-shrouded Ricardo Teixeira on FIFA’s executive committee writes KEIR RADNEDGE.

Teixeira quit his FIFA role on Monday after being driven from his presidencies of the Brazilian football confederation and the local organizing authority for the 2014 World Cup. Teixeira had attributed his mass exit variously to “health concerns” and “personal reasons.”

His place at the head of the CBF and COL was immediately taken up by his personal preference, senior vice-president Jose Maria Marin. Now, after FIFA’s demand that CONMEBOL (the South American confederation) come up with a new man in double-quick time, his place in world football’s corridors of power goes to Del Nero.

The other South American members on FIFA’s 24-member executive committee are Julio Grondona of Argentina and CONMEBOL president Nicolas Leoz of Paraguay. CONMEBOL spokesman Nestor Benitez, speaking from the organisation’s headquarters in Asuncion (Paraguay), said: “The choice [of Del Nero] was unanimous.”

In fact Del Nero, president of the powerful Sao Paulo federation, is understood to have played a significant role in ensuring that Marin succeeded Teixeira. He ensured that Marin phoned all the other regional football leaders, several of them likely rivals, to assure them that he would represent their best interests once in power.

Back in 2008 Del Nero was also influential in seeing that Marin became president of the south-east regional association of Brazilian federations.

It now remains to be seen whether he can prove a more successful bridge between FIFA and the Brazilian government over preparations for the 2013 Confederations Cup and 2014 World Cup than Teixeira.

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