SAO PAULO: Old World Cup-winners Romario and Diego Maradona have joined forces to challenge the South American football confederation over its distribution of revenue writes KEIR RADNEDGE.

The involvement of Argentina’s Maradona may not be taken too seriously by CONMEBOL but Romario brings a more solid status as a member of the parliamentary congress in Brazil.

Romario’s relentless pursuit of the Brazilian confederation was a contributory factor in the decision of its former supremo, Ricardo Teixeira, to flee the country for a home in Miami with a bank account in the European tax haven of Andorra.

Maradona, currently as an ambassador for Dubai Sports Council, and Romario have met 20 South American clubs and a group of Uruguayan lawyers to demand change in football administration. They had been brought together at a conference staged by Andres Sanchez in support of his campaign to succeed Jose Maria Marin next year as president of the Brazilian confederation.

Romario said: “The situation is really much more serious than we imagined. What has been presented here is one of the biggest disgraces that I have seen. I couldn’t imagine that there was an institution which… did so much harm to the sport.

“We have to get more people together. The clubs, the ex-players and the current players have to take the fight to CONMEBOL. It’s a movement for transparency and dignity in football. With this commission that we are going to form, we are going to see what has happened to all this money.”

Maradona echoed Romario’s criticism, saying: ““We have seen, with astonishment and great sadness, that football doesn’t belong to the clubs, the supporters or the players.

“So we are going to form a commission to unmask these people who do so much harm to the game. It’s very serious, but thanks to all of us who are not afraid of those people… we are here so that we can have a more transparent football.”

CONMEBOL spokesman Nestor Benitez refused to comment.


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Friday, September 6, 2013

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