RIO DE JANEIRO: Brazil’s success in organising and even winning the World Cup next year could be crucial to the political future of Aldo Rebelo, the Sports Minister writes KEIR RADNEDGE.
Rebelo, appointed in October 2011, is being proposed by the Communist Party of Brazil (PCdoB) for election as governor of Sao Paulo in the autumn of next year.
This threatens World Cup liaison complications for the government of President Dilma Rousseff and world football federation FIFA. Election timing regulations may force Rebelo to resign his Sports Ministry role before the finals.
Rebelo, 57, a student union leader then a journalist, once led a campaign to defend the use of the Portuguese language against the intrusion of English words and phrases.
He was president of the Chamber of Deputies under President Lula da Silva between 2005 and 2007. At one stage led an investigation into financial allegations against the then CBF president Ricardo Teixeira. The pair were later reconciled after Teixeira entered into a political support pact with Lula.
Rebelo stepped up as Sports Minister in October 2011 after a financial scandal forced the resignation of long-serving Orlando Silva who remains a key figure in Brazilian politics as president of the communist party.
He has proved a solid partner and point of contact for FIFA in the troubled task of persuading the Brazilians to step up the pace of preparation work. Rebelo has always insisted, publicly at least, that Brazil will be ready and the finals will be a great success in all spheres.
Rebelo’s latest campaign could be thrown off balance if the street protests over World Cup expenditure explode during the World Cup: he would inevitably attract antagonism for his role in the project.
Last weekend a further wave of fan violence hit Brazil. Some $50,worth 000 of damage was inflicted on the World Cup stadium at Fortaleza by fans upset that the team missed out on promotion. Police said 3,000 seats had been ripped out.
Simultaneously, dozens of supporters were detained after clashes in Sao Paulo while police also confronted fan groups inside two other stadia including a match involving Brazilian championship leaders Cruzeiro of Belo Horizonte.
Separately, threats to the organisation of the World Cup have been issued by criminal gangs in response to the continuing ‘pacification’ programmes in the favelas.