BRASILIA: Presidents Dilma Rousseff of Brazil and Sepp Blatter of FIFA are reportedly planning the removal of Jose Maria Marin as head of the local World Cup organising committee writes KEIR RADNEDGE.
The claim has been made in O Globo by the long-serving political columnist Ilimar Franco.
Marin, 82, was senior vice-president of the Brazilian football confederation until March last year. Then he stepped up as president of both the CBF and of the World Cup organising committee after the controversial Ricardo Teixeira fled into self-imposed exile in Miami on being assailed by one financial scandal after another.
Marin’s Sao Paulo federation ally Marco Polo Del Nero took over Teixeira’s seat on the FIFA executive committee as a delegate of the South American confederation, CONMEBOL.
Rousseff, no fan of Teixeria, was equally uneasy with Marin’s accession. He had been closely connected with senior officials in the military dictatorship which ruled Brazil between 1964 and 1985 and which had militant opponent Rousseff imprisoned and tortured.
Brazilian observers were surprised that she even accepted being seated next to Marin at the draw for the Confederations Cup in Sao Paulo last December.
Marin had just then emerged from a controversy of a football nature. He had sacked Mano Menezes as national coach a mere two weeks before the Confed Cup draw and had rushed to appoint Luiz Felipe Scolari for fear of Brazil appearing a managerless laughing stock in front of the international media.
Pressure on him has been ramped up over the past two months, notably by the 1994 World Cup-winner Romario from his platform as a congressman and as newly-appointed president of the parliamentary sport and tourism commission.
First Romario demanded that Marin open up the CBF books for examination over the long-running national team sponsorship by Nike; then he accused Marin of indirect complicity in the death of a campaigning journalist during the dictatorship.
Finally, Romario demanded Marin’s departure after the publication on social media of tapes in which a voice, alleged to be that of Marin, raised threats against two businessmen involved in the stadia retail business.
Marin denied that it was his voice on the tapes. However this did not deter Romario from insisting that he be removed from office by the government for fear of more revelations causing serious national and international embarrassment during either the Confederations Cup in June and/or the World Cup finals next year.
Subsquently Globo columnist Franco headed his latest column by claiming that Rousseff and Blatter were in league to force the departure of Marin from, at least, his role as president of the World Cup’s local organising committee.
An obvious successor would be Ronaldo, the 2002 World Cup-winning top scorer who was brought on to the organising board in 2011. He was appointed then by Teixeira to undertake the media-facing duties which the long-time CBF supremo dared not risk.
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