SAO PAULO: A sharp reminder of the convoluted influences in and around Brazilian football has been handed by the federal police’s search of the home of senior director Marco Polo Del Nero writes KEIR RADNEDGE.

The 71-year-old is president of the Sao Paulo federation, a vice-president of the Brazilian confederation and a member – since last April – of the FIFA executive committee. Del Nero acceded to the world federation role after the scandal-hit exit of Ricardo Teixeira.

Del Nero’s home was among 87 targeted for searches in Operation Durkheim, an action seeking information about the theft and sale of confidental government and financial information. Some 36 people were arrested in the states of São Paulo, Goiás, the Federal District, Pará, Pernambuco and Rio de Janeiro.

The criminal lawyer insisted that he had made a statement to police and was completely relaxed about the incident which was not connected with football.

However it was an embarrassment to the world game as FIFA directors and officiasl began to gather in Brazil ahead of the Confederations Cup draw in Sao Paulo on Saturday.

Jerome Valcke, FIFA’s secretary-general, said at a trade fair in Rio de Janeiro that it was “an internal problem.” He added: “The information I had is that the Federal Police went to his house and took statements and collected objects. I do not see how it’s possible to make any further comments.”

Valcke did not, however, rule out the possibility that Del Nero might become the subject of an investigation by FIFA’s ethics prosecitor, Michael Garcia.

He added: “What I can say is that the FIFA Ethics Committee has full freedom to investigate, if you think necessary, Del Nero or any other member of FIFA but we are all innocent until proven guilty.”

# # #