• Brazil confederation president a key figure in Fifa for 22 years
• Teixeira blames ill-health and insists: ‘I’ve done my duty’
The intrigue enveloping Fifa has deepened with the resignation of Ricardo Teixeira, president of the Brazilian football confederation (CBF) for 22 years and a long-time powerful figure within football’s world governing body. Under pressure in Brazil over the organisation of the 2014 World Cup and at Fifa following a series of corruption allegations, Teixeira’s resignation has been predicted for months. When it came, however, he said it was on the grounds of ill-health. Last year Teixeira took temporary leave of absence for diverticulitis, a bowel condition.
Stepping down from the presidency of the CBF and as head of the 2014 World Cup organising committee, Teixeira, 64, said in a letter read out to reporters at the CBF headquarters: “I leave the presidency of the CBF definitively with the feeling of having done my duty.”
Teixeira’s path to football’s power-broking was smoothed by the former CBF and Fifa president João Havelange, whose daughter, Lucia, Teixeira married, although they later divorced. Both men have pointed out that the CBF was poverty-stricken, despite running the game in a most glamorous football country. Yet, although they brought fortunes to it, their regimes have been tainted by allegations of corruption.
Most immediately in Zurich is the likely publication of a settlement made in court in the Swiss canton of Zug, in connection with alleged bribes paid to senior Fifa officials in the late 1990s by the marketing company ISL. The BBC’s Panorama broadcast allegations that Teixeira was paid $9.5m (£6.1m), along with Havelange. Fifa says it does want the settlement to be published but some parties named in it have applied for it to remain confidential. The International Olympic Committee, of which Havelange was a member, began an ethics investigation into him and he resigned before it reached its conclusion. Both men have denied wrongdoing.
Teixeira has faced mounting political pressure at home because of construction delays and doubts over Brazil’s practical ability to host the World Cup. Fifa’s general secretary, Jérôme Valcke, last week sought to extricate himself from a row with the Brazilian government, claiming he was misquoted over comments that the country needed a “kick in the ass” to meet its commitments.
In 2001 the Brazilian congress called on Teixeira and other senior CBF figures to be prosecuted for 13 alleged crimes including tax evasion, money laundering and misleading lawmakers but no charges were brought. Last year Lord Triesman, the former chairman of the Football Association, said in parliament that Teixeira had asked him, regarding the vote to host the 2018 World Cup: “What can you do for me?” Teixeira denied that and no action was taken.
Teixeira has also faced two federal police investigations, into the ISL allegations and whether he diverted public money from a friendly Brazil played against Portugal in November 2008.
Romario, the former Brazil striker in the World Cup victory of 1994 and now a member of congress, said on Twitter of Teixeira: “Today we can celebrate. We exterminated a cancer from Brazilian football.” Yet none of these investigations has produced any charges against Teixeira and, when he resigned, he claimed he had been a success.
“Football in our country is associated with two things: talent and disorganisation,” his statement said. “When we win, talent is praised. When we lose, it’s about disorganisation. I did what was within my reach, sacrificing my health.”
He is succeeded, without an election being held, by José Maria Marin, 79, a former politician. Marin vowed that little would change. “The stupendous work that was being done by Ricardo Teixeira will continue,” he promised.