Brazilian lawmaker and former national soccer team striker Romario Da Souza Faria has gathered more than the required support in Congress to request hearings into the country’s soccer federation only 18 months before the country hosts the World Cup.
Romario, who played for Barcelona FC and won the 1994 World Cup with Brazil, personally canvassed lawmakers yesterday to gather 188 signatures, more than the two-thirds needed, the ex- player said on his Facebook Inc. internet profile.
The request for a special congressional committee to investigate the federation comes after its vice president, Marco Polo Del Nero, was taken in for police questioning last month as part of a nationwide probe into alleged financial crimes and extortion.
Romario in March praised the resignation of Ricardo Teixeira as head of the federation. Teixeira, a former son-in- law of Joao Havelange, the ex-head of soccer’s world governing body FIFA, resigned after the British Broadcasting Corp. named him as a beneficiary of bribes paid by FIFA’s bankrupt former marketing partner ISL. Teixeira has denied the allegations.
Five-time World Cup winner Brazil has been criticized by FIFA for delays in the refurbishment of stadiums and the construction of other infrastructure for the 2014 World Cup. FIFA general-secretary Jerome Valcke said in March that the country needed a “kick up the ass” to be ready in time for the event. He later apologized.