RIO DE JANEIRO: The appearance is not “if” but “when” . . . that is, the departure of Jose Maria Marin from, at least, the leadership of the 2018 local Brazilian World Cup organising committee writes KEIR RADNEDGE.
Every other day brings a new issue of controversy or sees yet another newspaper or magazine gain greater confidence in reporting and repeating the allegations which have turned Marin, in power for little more than a year at the organising committee and the Brazilian confederation, into a lame duck president.
The latest controversy concerns allegations that Brazil’s new and redeveloped stadia for the 2014 World Cup will cost two and a half times the original estimate.
Marin was senior vice-president when he took over the CBF presidency left vacancy by Ricardo Teixeira’s self-exiling flight to Miami. But his own record, his close links with the previous dictatorship and concerns over the financial controls within the CBF, has come under increasing attack.
Now Marin has been summoned Wednesday to appear to explain himself and answer all charges before the Federal Sports and Tourism Commission of which arch-critic Romario is chairman. A date for the hearing is yet to be fixed.
The proposal for Marin’s summons was initiated by federal deputy Rubens Bueno of Brazil’s Popular Socialist Party. National Truth Commission coordinator Paulo Sergio Pinheiro and National Human Rights Commission chairman Wadih Nemer Damous Filho will also be heard.
Buenos said: “Nobody is prejudging anybody, however we need to clarify this case which could stain Brazil’s image on the eve of the World Cup.”
Romario, a member of the Brazilian Socialist Party (PSB), last month led a petition calling for Marin’s removal.
The 1994 World Cup winner has been joined in the campaign by Ivo Herzog, the son of Vladimir Herzog, a journalist who was tortured and assassinated in 1975 by agents belonging to Brazil’s military dictatorship.
The petition claims Marin, a Sao Paulo state deputy at the time, was involved in Herzog’s imprisonment. Marin, 83, has repeatedly denied the claims.
The CBF, in a statement, said: “The organising committee does not comment on speculation. The team is focused on the delivery of the Confederations Cup and we have the full involvement of president Jose Maria Marin in the event’s preparations.”
Former World Cup-winner Ronaldo, brought on to the organising committee originally by Teixeira, has moved sharply this week to distance himself from Marin.
Ronaldo said: “What the critics want I also want, which is to shake up Brazilian football. There are a lot of things that we don’t want to see anymore … lack of transparency, poor calendars, fan violence. If Marin can’t do that, we need to make a change. The CBF needs to move forward. Our football needs young and dynamic people with new ideas.”
Ronaldo is seen as one of the possible candidates to replace Marin, according to local media, along with former Corinthians president and CBF director Andres Sanchez and former Brazil player and Paris Saint-Germain director Leonardo.
Marin belonged to the party which supported the regime which ruled Brazil from 1964-85 and Romario recently handed the CBF a petition featuring nearly 55,000 signatures demanding that Marin quits to avoid the “embarrassing” situation of him sitting alongside Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff and other heads of states in VIP tribunes during the Confederations Cup in June.
Marin went to court to make an official complaint against Romario’s allegations and accused Brazil’s media of trying to create chaos as the country prepares for football’s showpiece event.
FIFA has insisted that these issues are a matter only for the Brazilian game. However regular reports have suggested that the removal of Marin at some time soon has been agreed by both FIFA and Brazil’s President Dilma Rousseff.
One possible diplomatic resolution could see Marin step down from the organising committee, blaming pressure of work, while maintaining the presidency of the domestic federation.
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