The Brazilian football federation announced Friday that president Ricardo Teixeira will remain in his post, denying widespread reports that he would resign this week.
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The federation said in a brief statement on its website that Teixeira will be back to work as scheduled after the Carnival holiday ends next week. He will also remain the president of the 2014 World Cup organizing committee.
”President Ricardo Teixeira will resume his scheduled work activities at CBF (Brazilian federation) after Carnival,” the one-line statement said.
Rumors of a possible resignation increased Thursday after the Folha de S. Paulo newspaper, Brazil’s largest, published a report linking Teixeira to a company being investigated for over-billing an international friendly four years ago.
It was the latest of a series of accusations against Teixeira in his 23-year rule of Brazilian football and the national team.
He has always denied any wrongdoing and has never been convicted.
Sources close to Teixeira, including some members of local federations, had said his resignation was imminent and would likely happen before Carnival began on Friday, according to local media. Reports had said that he would either resign or take a leave of absence.
The pressure on Teixeira increased after the Folha story, and former Brazil star Romario, now a congressman, was among those asking Teixeira to leave his post to keep the controversy from harming Brazilian football and the country’s already delayed World Cup preparations.
Folha said the company linked to Teixeira, Ailanto Marketing, is being investigated for over-billing air tickets and hotel stays for a Brazil friendly against Portugal in 2008. The company received nearly $5 million to organize the friendly and police found evidence that a partner made payments to Teixeira four months after the match in Brasilia.
The payments, which could total $350,000, were supposedly part of a contract for renting land owned by Teixeira near Rio de Janeiro. Teixeira said there was nothing illegal in the land contract.
Teixeira took over the Brazilian football federation in an election in 1989, when the organization was struggling financially. He revamped it completely and saw results on and off the field, with Brazil winning two World Cup under his command, in 1994 and 2002.
With his influence at FIFA, he was instrumental in helping Brazil earn the right to host the World Cup for the first time since the 1950 tournament.
But there was always controversy.
After the 1994 title, Teixeira found himself involved in a dispute with custom authorities after players and team officials allegedly tried to re-enter Brazil without paying proper taxes on gifts and other imported goods bought by them in the United States.
He was twice investigated by Brazil’s Congress and recently was accused of taking kickbacks from former FIFA marketing partner ISL in the 1990s.
He was also accused of unethical behavior by the former chairman of England’s Football Association, David Triesman, who said during a British parliamentary inquiry that Teixeira and other FIFA executive committee members engaged in improper conduct during bidding for the 2018 World Cup.
FIFA cleared the Brazilian, who said the allegations were made because the English were upset over losing the World Cup bid.
Teixeira seemed to have the support of FIFA president Sepp Blatter and at one point was touted as his possible replacement in football’s governing body. But the relationship between the two apparently hasn’t been as good recently, especially after Blatter decided to allow the release of the documents that allegedly implicate Teixeira in the ISL case. FIFA eventually postponed publication of the documents citing legal measures.