Brazil’s soccer body elects new president following scandal

SAO PAULO (AP) — Brazil’s soccer confederation CBF elected a new president on Wednesday as it tries to move on from a sexual harassment scandal involving its previous leader.

Ednaldo Rodrigues, 68, was appointed for a four-year term after receiving 137 of 141 possible votes. He was the only candidate running. However, the election has been hotly disputed and Rodrigues’ opponents had tried to get a court order to delay the ballot.

Rodrigues will replace Rogério Caboclo, who was suspended in June and removed in February after a former staffer accused him of sexual harassment, which he denies. Later two other women also made accusations against him.

Caboclo was elected in 2019 and helped persuade Brazil’s president, Jair Bolsonaro, to host the Copa America in Brazil last year after the tournament was pulled from Colombia and Argentina amid the coronavirus pandemic.

Rodrigues has worked as the soccer body’s interim president since August, amid several attempts by Caboclo and other opponents to unseat him. Stemming from the Bahia region in northeastern Brazil, Rodrigues said he faced prejudice during the campaign because of his background.

The leadership of Brazil’s soccer body has been plagued by scandals for years. Caboclo’s predecessor, Marco Polo Del Nero, was banned by FIFA for corruption.

José Maria Marin, another former president of the CBF, was sentenced to four years in prison in the United States in August 2018 for accepting bribes in exchange for the media and marketing rights to soccer tournaments. He was released in March 2020 amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

Ricardo Teixeira, who was the head of the soccer body between 1989 and 2012, has been banned by FIFA for life for bribery. He was indicted on financial conspiracy charges by the U.S. Department of Justice, but managed to evade extradition to the U.S.

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