SAO PAULO: The only critic of Marco Polo Del Nero in the top level of the Brazilian football confederation is being threatened with an 18-month ban from football by the national sports justice tribunal.

Delfim Peixoto would have been automatically promoted as interim president of the CBF, through being the oldest vice-president, when Del Nero stepped down twice – both last December and then again on January – under pressure of scandal.

However Del Nero shut out Peixtoto by organising the election instead of his ally Colonel Antonio Carlos Nunes who, at 77, was two years older than Peixoto.

Last week Del Nero reclaimed the presidency even though he is wanted on criminal corruption charges in the United States and has been under investigation by FIFA’s ethics committee since December.

Last year Peixoto had described the election as a “coup” and that he considered Nunes to be the “frontman” of Del Nero. He added: “It seems they want to silence me. Are we going back to living in a dictatorship?”

Tribunal executive Fernando Silva Junior said that Peixoto, head of the Catarinense state federation, had “circulated in the media gratuitous insults against fellow senior directors [of the CFB], displaying a lack of respect and ridiculing them, with the clear intention of attacking their reputation.”

Peixoto was furious.

He responded: “We live in a free country and I have the ability to exopress my opinion without censure. I do not understand how I can be punished for more than a year for stating my personal opinion.”

Del Nero, in an interview with Folha of Sao Paulo, said he had intended originally not to reassume the CBF presidency until July.

However, having seen new FIFA president Gianni Infantino questioned over a UEFA TV deal as revealed by the ‘Panama Papers’, he had decided he had equal right to take up his own presidency again.