FIFA suspends CBF president Del Nero
RIO DE JANEIRO, Brazil (AP):
Marco Polo del Nero was suspended yesterday as the head of the Brazilian football confederation, a move that could bring him closer to facing trial in the United States on charges of racketeering and money laundering.
FIFA said Del Nero was under an ethics investigation and has been banned for 90 days from all football activities.
Del Nero fled Zurich in May 2015 when other FIFA colleagues were arrested. They included Jose Maria Marin, who was at the time the head of the Brazilian confederation, known as the CBF. Marin and two other South American football officials have been on trial in New York on the same charges that Del Nero could eventually face.
"As many Brazilians that love football, my hope is that he is banned for good," football great Romario now a Brazilian federal senator wrote on his Facebook page.
"Del Nero has already had his crimes exposed along those of other crooks like Jose Maria Marin, who is in jail in the United States, and (former CBF president) Ricardo Teixeira who is still on the loose in Brazil. They all used CBF to get illegally rich."
Del Nero has repeatedly denied any wrongdoing.
FIFA had failed to ban Del Nero until yesterday, though FIFA President Gianni Infantino has been questioned openly about him in recent days.
Infantino was photographed at last year's Olympics receiving a Brazilian football shirt from Del Nero, and reporters questioned him about Del Nero at the World Cup draw earlier this month in Moscow.
"So whatever comes out of these trials (in New York), we will deal with it," Infantino said. "We have ethics committees, disciplinary committees. They will deal with these questions. It's not for the FIFA president to deal with them. We have institutions for that."
Del Nero has not travelled from Brazil in the last several years, fearing arrest and extradition to the United States if he does. Brazil has an extradition treaty with the U.S., but seldom sends its own citizens abroad for trial.