Romario wants Brazilian federation chief to resign

Brazilian congressman Romario is calling for the resignation of

the national football federation president for his alleged links to

the country’s military dictatorship.

Romario, a former Brazil striker, handed over a petition

featuring nearly 55,000 signatures to the federation and other

entities Monday demanding that Jose Maria Marin quits to avoid an

”embarrassing” situation during the Confederations Cup later this

year and the 2014 World Cup.

Romario delivered the signatures alongside Ivo Herzog, the son

of a local journalist who died during the dictatorship era in 1975.

They have called for an investigation into Marin’s possible

connection to the death.

”We made a comparison in our petition saying that to think

about having Marin as head of the World Cup is likewise imagining

Germany selecting someone that belonged to the Nazi party,” Herzog

said. ”Can you imagine that? I cannot imagine that. But it

happened here in Brazil. That’s the reality.”

Marin, who is also the president of the local World Cup

organizing committee, has denied any wrongdoing and accused

Brazil’s media of trying to create chaos as the country prepares

for football’s showpiece event.

”Anyone with good faith will easily conclude that the

accusations by these pseudo-journalists are absolutely false,” the

statement on the site said. ”It’s a campaign based on lies.”

The delivery of the public petition, called ”Out Marin,” came

on the date commemorating the 49th anniversary of the military coup

in 1964. The petition will also be sent to state football

federations and to the presidents of top Brazilian clubs. The

signatures were gathered online.

”As the federation president, Marin will be side-by-side with

Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff welcoming heads of states for

the Confederations Cup in June and for the World Cup next year,”

Romario recently told congress. ”They will likely share the same

VIP tribune, and I think this proximity will be a bit embarrassing

for our president.”

Last month, Romario called for congress’ truth commission to

hand over any information it has on Marin after the publication of

a controversial speech he gave as a state congressman just before

journalist Vladimir Herzog died. Marin allegedly called for an

investigation into the participation of leftists in the television

channel headed by Herzog, who was later interrogated by police and

eventually found dead in his cell.

The military said Herzog committed suicide, but activists argue

that Marin’s speech in part led to authorities torturing and

killing the journalist, whose case became widely known as a symbol

of the abuses against those opposing the dictatorship rule in

Brazil from 1964-85.

The 80-year-old Marin, whose party supported the military

regime, recently used the website of the Brazilian federation to

dismiss the accusations, saying he merely agreed with another

congressman who was calling for the investigation into the

television channel. He said there is no proof he had anything to do

with Herzog’s death.

Romario, known for being outspoken as a congressman, has been

calling for a congressional investigation into the Brazilian

federation (CBF) ever since Marin took over from Ricardo Teixeira,

who quit last year citing medical reasons amid widespread

allegations of corruption and irregularities in his

administration.

”I believe it is of vital importance that there is the opening

of an investigative hearing so Brazil can really know what is CBF,

what CBF does, and what these people who have been working at CBF

do,” Romario said.

Marin was a governor of Sao Paulo in the 1980s and also made

headlines recently after allegedly being caught on tape threatening

local businessmen, as well as for criticizing current Brazil Sports

Minister Aldo Rebelo. Marin said it’s not his voice on the tapes,

which were widely published on social medias.

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