KEIR RADNEDGE REPORTING
— Funny word: Family.
Of course there is the Mafia connotation but, in football terms, when Sepp Blatter talks about “family” the FIFA president means all those involved in the world game, in every country, in every continent. Players, officials and fans; even fans of the armchair variety.
Then there is another sort of family: the Brazilian football family. That means the Havelange family. Or rather, the Teixeira family.
Joao Havelange is now 95. He swam for Brazil at the 1936 Berlin Olympics and put his fists to use in the backstreet boxing rings to earn the cost of his passage home. He was back at the London Olympics, playing water polo.
In due course he became president of the Brazilian sports confederation then president of FIFA for 24 years and a member of the International Olympic Committee until last December (when he quit over the ISL scandal).
Havelange had one child, a daughter, Lucia. She married a rising share dealer and sports administrator, Ricardo Teixeira. In due course Teixeira – hardly through coincidence – rose to become president of the Brazilian football confederation and a member of the FIFA executive committee.
More recently he became president of the local organising authority (COL) of the 2014 World Cup. As president of both the CBF and the COL he has prospective control of the destination of whatever profits Brazilian football makes out of the 2014 finals.
Along the way Teixeira and Lucia separated. His second partner, 30 years his junior, is Ana Carolina Wigand. They have an 11-year-old daughter, Antonia.
Last summer, according to the Folha newspaper of Sao Paulo, Antonia allegedly received a bank transfer of more than $1m from the Barcelona president Sandro Rosell. The source of the money and the reason for the payment is not known.
What is known is that Rosell and Teixeira were close friends and business associates at the turn of millennium. Rosell was a witness to Teixeira’s second wedding. At the time he was also a senior Nike executive, overseeing the sportwear giant’s multi-million sponsorship of Brazil’s national team.
Keeping it in the family, Teixeira has a brother, Guilherme. He was investigated and interviewed, as was Teixeira, over allegations of money-laundering illicit payments from ISL, the former marketing partner of FIFA. That investigation, it appears, is going nowhere. After all, there is no potentially incriminating evidence: the ISL court papers remain closed.
Teixeira also has an uncle, Marco Antonio. For the best part of 20 years he was secretary-general of the Brazilian federation and one of Teixeira’s closest aides. Then, two weeks ago, Teixeira sacked him. The pain of the pay-off was doubtless cushioned by a reported $900,000 pay-off from the CBF coffers.
Two weeks ago Teixeira – roundly defying and denying any and all allegations and accusations – flew off to join his wife and daughter in Miami.
The reason was not, as had been widely anticipated, to announce his resignation but merely for a holiday.
A family holiday . . . of course.