ZURICH (Reuters) - Brazilian soccer chief Marco Polo del Nero was banned for 90 days by FIFA on Friday while he is investigated over possible unethical conduct, world soccer’s ruling body said in a statement.
Del Nero, a former member of FIFA’s executive committee, was among 42 soccer officials and sports marketing executives indicted in the United States in 2015 in a corruption scandal that sparked the biggest crisis in FIFA’s history.
Brazil does not allow the extradition of its own citizens and Del Nero had remained as president of the Brazilian Football Confederation (CBF) until Friday’s decision.The CBF said he would be replaced temporarily by its vice-president and Del Nero’s ally Antonio Carlos Nunes de Lima. Del Nero has repeatedly denied wrongdoing but could not be reached for comment on Friday.
His two immediate predecessors, Jose Maria Marin and Ricardo Teixeira, were also among those indicted in the United States.
Marin is currently standing trial in the U.S. alongside former South American Football Confederation president Juan Napout and former Peruvian football boss Manuel Burga.
The three have pleaded not guilty to allegations they were involved in a conspiracy to take bribes from sports marketing companies in exchange for lucrative marketing rights to soccer tournaments, including the Copa America and Copa Libertadores.
Teixeira, who has denied wrongdoing, has remained in Brazil, as has Del Nero.
FIFA did not give any details on Friday of the alleged offences involving Del Nero, saying only that he was “banned from all football activities at both national and international level” following a request from its chief ethics investigator.
FIFA said the ban could be extended for an additional 45 days to allow investigations to continue.
Former World Cup striker Romario celebrated the decision and called on FIFA to make it permanent.
“FIFA has finally concluded that Del Nero continuing to exercise his activities in football at both a national and international level is inadmissible,” said Romario, now a senator and a sharp critic of the CBF.
“My hope, like many Brazilians who love football, is that he is banned once and for all.”
Reporting by John Revill and Brian Homewood; Editing by Michael Shields and Ken Ferris