Brazilian soccer corruption

“The disorganisation, conflict of decisions and lack of transparency stood out clearly,” said Geraldo Althoff, general secretary of a commission of inquiry in the Senate.

Althoff said that, after examining the Brazilian Football Confederation (CBF) accounts for a recent five-year period, the commission had discovered anomalies and what he described as dubious investments. Few transactions were backed by receipts, he said.

“The lack of documentation is normal and habitual in the accounting process for 1995-2000, to which we had access,” Althoff said.

Citing one example, Althoff said the CBF had paid a travel agency the equivalent of 6.62 million Real ($2.6 million) for its services in 1998, the year of the World Cup in France. But, he said, the amount increased to 8 million Real in 1999 and 16 million Real last year, even though there were no tournaments of the World Cup’s importance in either year.

Althoff’s findings were announced one day after Brazil suffered another humiliating defeat in the World Cup qualifying competition, going down 3-1 away to Bolivia. The four times world champions, who have one qualifier to play at home to Venezuela next week, still run the risk of missing out on next year’s World Cup.

The team’s decline is often blamed on the chaotic administration of the Brazilian game, which is being investigated by the Senate’s commission.

“There’s no need to say that the CBF is immersed in the most absolute chaos,” said Alvaro Dias, president of the commission. The commission, which grilled CBF president Ricardo Teixeira earlier in its investigations, had summoned him back for a second session this month but Teixeira provided a note from his doctor saying he was not fit enough to attend. Dias said he was not convinced.

“In the last few days, Mr Ricardo Teixeira has shown unusual vigour, he has taken part in CBF activities behind the scenes and taken part in political wheeling and dealing,” Dias said. “In my opinion, he was perfectly capable of facing the commission.”

The commission, due to produce its final report next month, is one of two which were set up last year to open the so-called black box of Brazilian football and find out what happens to the money invested in the sport. In particular, the commission investigated a controversial sponsorship deal between the CBF and sportswear giants Nike as well as the export of teenage players to European clubs.

The other commission in the lower house finished its investigations earlier this year. It recommended that 31 soccer directors, including Teixeira, and agents be criminally prosecuted, mainly for offences such as tax evasion and dodging foreign exchange controls.

In addition, it accused Teixeira of breaking CBF statutes by paying himself a salary and selling milk produced on his own farms to the CBF. Teixeira, who has run the CBF since 1989, has come under huge pressure to resign in the last two months. He is currently on medical leave and has been replaced by 71-year-old Alfredo Nunes.