KEIR RADNEDGE in SAO PAULO: FIFA president Sepp Blatter reiterated here today that a Brazilian police inquiry concerning FIFA exco member Marco Polo Del Nero is unconnected with his work in football.

The status of Del Nero is delicate because of the history of Brazilian football administration under Ricardo Teixeira.

Teixeira was long-time president of the CBF and a member of the FIFA executive committee before the increasing weight of financial scandals drove him into exile in Miami last March. He is still thought to be an influential force, from a distance.

Jose Maria Marin, the senior vice-president of the CBF, stepped up as president with Del Nero – leader of the powerful Sao Paulo federation and another federal vice-president – taking over Teixeira’s seat on FIFA’s high council.

Last week Del Nero’s home was searched by police in a nationwide investigation into industrial espionage.

Del Nero, who was arrested, said later that he was not a suspect but that police had been checking information links involving other companies with which he may have been connected through his work as a criminal lawyer.

Blatter, after a meeting of the Confederations Cup organising committee, was asked for a reaction to the turbulence within Brazilian football. This meant  not only the Del Nero incident but the leadership change within the CBF as well as the replacement this week of Mano Menezes by Luiz Felipe Scolari as national coach.

Blatter said: “All these changes have been, I’m sure, to the benefit of good governance on the one side and it is not up to FIFA to analyse the decisions taken by the CBF concerning the new leadership with Mr Marin. I wish him well.

“Certainly we are very happy that, immediately after the departure of Mano Menezes, the leadersip of Brazilian football took the decision to have again at the head of their national team a coach in the name of Mr Luiz Felipe Scolari and I’m sure this is all good news for Brazilian fans and also for the Brazilian football organisation.”

With Del Nero sitting nearby, Blatter went on to add: “We know there is an investigation. It has nothing to do with football but nevertheless we are awaiting the result of the investigation and, for the time being, we have no comments to make.”

Under FIFA’s new, tighter ethics code, prosecutor Michael J Garcia can decide for himself whether to undertake an investigation into any issue or anybody without needing direction from the exco or the offices of either the president or the secretary-general.

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