RIO DE JANEIRO: Marco Polo Del Nero is back at his desk as president of the Brazilian football confederation but it may not be for much longer writes KEIR RADNEDGE.
The head of the CBF is wanted by the United States Department of Justice in its pursuit of senior football officials it wants to stand trial on charges of corruption, fraud, bribery and money-laundering. His predecessor, Jose Maria Marin, is being held on house arrest in New York while long-time ex-CBF boss Ricardo Teixeira is also a wanted man.
While Del Nero remains in Brazil he is safe because citizens cannot be extradited. At least Del Nero has been kicked off the FIFA executive committee because of his failure to attend meetings ever since fleeing Zurich last May 27 after the arrests of seven of his fellow guests at the Baur au Lac hotel on the eve of the world football federation’s congress.
He is also thought to be at imminent risk of being suspended by the FIFA ethics committee pending an investigation into the criminal charges against him.
In November Del Nero stepped down temporarily from the CBF leadership ‘to attend to matters of concern’ which also included a shaming appearance before a parliamentary inquiry delving into the CBF’s commercial deals.
Del Nero’s responses to some of the questions provoked derisive laughter of disbelief as he insisted on memory lapses, in particular concerning trips abroad.
It is understood that the FIFA ethics committee is awaiting documentation from the US Department of Justice before proceeding against Del Nero.
Brazilian sources have suggested Del Nero may have returned to work partly to oversee the destruction of possible incriminating documentation and electronic records.
Similar allegations have been raised in Paraguay over the recent activities of Gorka Villar, secretary-general of South American confederation CONMEBOL.
Villar, son of FIFA and UEFA vice-president Angel Maria Villar, has been notified of possible legal action in Uruguay over alleged misconduct in office.
Del Nero’s interim deputy, Marcus Antonio Vicente, confirmed the end of his duties in a video message on the CBF website.
Vicente said: “I have completed my mission as interim head of the CBF. It was agreed with Marco Polo Del Nero that I would stay until January 5.”
The CBF stated: “With Vicente standing down, the president of the CBF Marco Polo Del Nero will resume his activities.”