Reports: Head of 2014 World Cup committee to step down
Feb 16, 2012, 15:10 GMT
Rio de Janeiro - Ricardo Teixeira, president of the organizing committee of the 2014 World Cup that is to be held in Brazil, will step down from that position within hours amid corruption allegations, Brazilian media reported Thursday.
Teixeira, 64, the ex son-in-law of former FIFA boss Joao Havelange, is also expected to resign as head of the Brazilian Football Confederation (CBF), which he has led for 23 years.
He was on medical leave since December. Reports doubted only whether Teixeira will resign from both positions or extend his medical leave instead.
Retired striker Ronaldo, who leads the committee alongside Teixeira, did not confirm the press reports and stressed he wanted him to stay.
'The president will stay on. That's what we've been told,' Ronaldo said. 'If (the rumours) are confirmed, it will be a pity, because he was the guy who brought the World Cup to Brazil and we owe him a lot.'
Another retired striker, Bebeto, became Thursday the third man in the committee.
'I'm here to do the best I can, as I have done all my life,' said the 1994 World Cup winner Bebeto, who turned 48 on the day.
Ronaldo announced Bebeto's appointment and wished him good luck in the position.
'I am certain that he will make an immense contribution. He is a great idol, a great friend, and he will allow us to pursue further the work we are doing,' he said.
On Thursday, Teixeira was expected to travel to Miami, where he would rejoin his wife and daughter.
Last year, Teixeira appointed Ronaldo, the all-time World Cup top scorer, as co-president of the 2014 World Cup organizing committee. In recent weeks, he has sacked several close aides.
British reporter Andrew Jennings has pointed an accusing finger at Teixeira and Havelange over the bribery scandal around the sports marketing firm ISL in the 1990s.
Last year, FIFA president Joseph Blatter promised to release to the public the documents of the Swiss investigation of the case, which reportedly implicates both. However, he has not made the documents public yet.
Teixeira's position became even more difficult after the Brazilian daily Folha de Sao Paulo reported that he is the object of an investigation by Brazilian police.
He is suspected with having financial dealings with a firm that allegedly committed irregularities when it organized a friendly between Brazil and Portugal in late 2008 in Brasilia.
The firm, Ailanto Marketing, is owned by Barcelona president Sandro Rosell, who is according to Brazilian media reports a very close friend of Teixeira's.
FIFA did not immediately comment on the rumours of Teixeira's exit. Until last year, the Brazilian was regarded as a strong candidate to succeed Blatter at the helm of FIFA in 2015.
'(FIFA) hopes that, if it materializes, (Teixeira's) exit is quick, so it does not block even more the organization of the Brazil 2014 World Cup,' said Brazilian daily O Estado de Sao Paulo.
World Cup preparations are running conspicuously late, and FIFA is worried that matters may be made worse by a power vacuum, the daily said.
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