Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.


The glitzy lives of South American federation bosses

23 December 2015, 08:36

Sao Paulo - When Brazilian Football Confederation president Marco Polo Del Nero was pictured aboard his yacht being kissed by a young model, he could never have imagined the photo would become part of a corruption investigation into South American football.

A year later, that kiss has vanished from the Instagram page of Katherine Fontenele, the 24-year-old model whose nude photo had recently graced the cover of Brazilian men's magazine Sexy.

But the Internet never forgets, and the snapshot has come back to haunt the 74-year-old football honcho, who was one of 16 people indicted by US authorities this month in the spiralling corruption scandal shaking FIFA.

Also Read:No excuses for Van Gaal

That love birds' outing on his 16-meter (52-foot) yacht returned from the past when a Brazilian Senate commission carrying out its own investigation into dirty dealings in the national sport announced it was requesting access to the bank and telephone records of Del Nero's ex-girlfriends.

Lawmakers suspect the yacht, My Way -- which Del Nero was fond of using for champagne-soaked outings with girlfriends a third of his age -- was purchased with bribes from sports marketing company Klefer, which is now in the cross-hairs of both the US and Brazilian investigations.

"Everybody saw the luxurious lives they lived," Brazilian sports journalist Juca Kfouri said of the men who run the so-called "beautiful game" here.

"They flew around in private planes, jets, helicopters. They had mansions in the best neighborhoods in Rio de Janeiro... Nobody ever doubted where that money was coming from."

Fifth Avenue prison

Del Nero's wealth has allegedly expanded immensely since 2012, the year his ally Jose Maria Marin took over as CBF president.

Brazilian newspaper Folha de Sao Paulo recently reported his real estate holdings have expanded by 175 percent since the arrival of Marin -- who was himself indicted by US authorities in May, paving the way for Del Nero to succeed him.

Del Nero has so far escaped arrest -- unlike the 83-year-old Marin, who was nabbed in a Zurich luxury hotel.

Marin, who was extradited to New York and released on $15 million (13.7 million euros) bail, is currently under house arrest at his apartment in the swank Trump Tower on Fifth Avenue. He has pleaded not guilty to the charges against him.

Also Read: Wenger lauds sick Ozil's amazing recovery

Del Nero for his part was forced to resign from FIFA's executive committee and take leave from the CBF.

"The presidents of the CBF never hid their lifestyles. They believed the impunity they enjoyed for so many years would last forever. It's disgraceful for the Brazilian authorities that the FBI had to come and investigate," said Kfouri.

The master of turning power to wealth in the footballing world is Ricardo Teixeira, the CBF's president for 23 years and another of the 16 Latin American football officials indicted this month.

"If you had to define 'craftiness,' in the good sense of the word, you'd point to Ricardo Teixeira," his ex-father-in-law, long-time FIFA president Joao Havelange, once said of him.

Teixeira, who moved to a $7.5-million mansion in Miami after standing down as CBF president in 2012, is now back in Brazil, which does not extradite its citizens.

Tarnished glory

But the excesses weren't limited to Brazil.

Of the 10 South American football federation presidents in office in 2013, just one has not been implicated in corruption by the FBI: Uruguay's Sebastian Bauza.

The last three presidents of South American confederation CONMEBOL have all been arrested in the probe, along with the presidents or former presidents of the Venezuelan, Bolivian, Peruvian and Ecuadoran federations.

Those targeted include Chilean federation ex-president Sergio Jadue, who is collaborating with US investigators after leaving the country under police escort.

Also Read: Ighalo expects difficult game in Stamford Bridge

He left behind a new $700,000 mansion and a meteoric rise that took him from the front office of a humble local club to the vice presidency of CONMEBOL.

Also cooperating with the Americans is Luis Bedoya, the "tsar" of Colombian football, a former clothing salesman who bought a dozen luxury properties during the nine years he led the Colombian Football Federation, according to a report by a local news magazine.

South Americans are meanwhile left hoping their next generation of football leadership will restore the tarnished glory of a continent that has won nine World Cups and whose stars continue to light up the best leagues in the world.



Read more from our Users

Nigeria @ 56: Words to my green f...

A leader’s job is not to dictate, but rather to be respected, admired and be a trustee, of the land we love, with so much potential, a land which should be freer than free. Its still a long way to fufilling our destiny! Read more...

Submitted by
Isaac Asabor263
Recession: An opportunity for Nig...

The recession should be seen as an opportunity for the country’s promotion as long as we all collectively conduct ourselves in a patriotic manner, writes Isaac Asabor.  Read more...

Submitted by
Black and White

We want to imitate the whites in everything because we are ignorant of our inherent originality and content. We spend all our Naira to acquire his inventions because we so oblivious of our natural endowments that we allow him have it for free. Read more...

Submitted by
Nate Nat
Adamawa State University Mubi: A ...

ADSU integrity forum has accused the Sunday Joshua Wugira, a lawyer, of adopting unorthodox tactics by abusing his privilege by attacking the integrity of ADSU Vice Chancellor Dr. Moses Zira Zaruwa, writes a News24 reader. Read more...

Submitted by
Abdulsalam Jubril
My Country Nigeria (Part One)

Poetry by Abdulsalam Jubril.

Submitted by
Abdulsalam Jubril
Recession, dearth in leadership a...

Every leader has the opportunity to become great and making himself immortal in the lives and hearts of people for generations to come. Will Mr. President seize this opportunity?, questions Abdulsalam Jubril. Read more...