NEW YORK: Jose Maria Marin, criminal former supremo of Brazilian football, appealed for clemency in a letter he read in court in New York before being sentenced by Judge Pamela Chen to four years in jail for corruption in the FIFAGate scandal writes KEIR RADNEDGE.

Marin told the court:

Thank you very much for being able to speak today, for your courtesy and decency during the trial.

Since December, when the trial ended, I have spent many hours reflecting on my life in an effort to understand what has happened. I made mistakes, but I have always tried to lead my life with dignity. I am sincerely sorry that anyone has been hurt by my actions.

Football has been a great love. Even in my youth, I was able to pay for my studies. But now it’s become a big nightmare. A reality that I’m trying to accept. But what worries me the most is the effect it has on my wife and the rest of my family.

[At this point Marin began to cry]

Ever since I was arrested three years ago, their lives have become hell. Neusa, with whom I have been married for 60 years, is the one who has suffered most. I worry about her constantly and I feel terrible pain for not being able to help. The physical deterioration she suffered prevented her from visiting me in prison in the last eight months.

In those three years that I was in prison, I met several people whom I would not have known were I not imprisoned.

I would like to thank the agents who arrested me in Switzerland, the people of this court and the guards of the MDC of Brooklyn, for the dignity with which they treated me. I’m very sick, I have spots all over my body. I’m a man with no future. The only thing that keeps me alive is my concern for my wife.

Christ carried a cross. I carry two. I carry mine and my wife’s, which has nothing to do with it.

There were five former vice-presidents [of the CBF]. I was in office for only a year and a half because I was the oldest and my concern was with the [2014] World Cup. I’ve never been on the FIFA Ethics Committee. Please! I only went to FIFA when the World Cup ended.

Neusa and I have known each other since we were 14 years old. Let’s celebrate together our 60 years of marriage. I’m already dead. Do not take away my wife’s possessions.

[Marin began again to cry].

I have worked since I was 17 to support my family.

[At this point Marin’s lawyers were granted a 10-minute adjournment]

I’d like to apologize for becoming carried away by emotions. I regret it if anyone or the sport has been harmed by my actions.

I know that you must evaluate many factors for my sentence. I ask you to consider that there is more to me than you heard in this court. I hope to return to Brazil and spend the rest of my life trying to compensate my family for the pain I caused.

I beg you: let this day come soon. Thank you very much.