RIO DE JANEIRO (Reuters) – Former Brazil soccer striker and 1994 World Cup champion Romario said on Tuesday he plans to run for president of the scandal-plagued Brazilian Football Confederation (CBF) on an anti-corruption platform.
Romario, 51, now a senator who has led congressional investigations into corruption in Brazilian soccer, announced his intentions four days after CBF President Marco Polo del Nero was suspended for 90 days by soccer world body FIFA.
Del Nero is being investigated in Brazil for alleged unethical conduct. He and his two predecessors, Ricardo Teixeira and José Maria Marin, have been charged in the United States in the biggest corruption scandal in soccer’s history.
“No one has fought so vigorously against that gang than me, and so I am a legitimate candidate,” Romario said on Instagram. “I have the qualifications for the job. My credentials are my whole contribution to soccer, on and off the field.”
He blamed former FIFA President Joao Havelange, who died last year, for installing a “system” of graft in Brazilian soccer and beyond.
Romario called for the prosecution of Marin, Teixeira and del Nero at the end of a congressional inquiry he led last year into corruption in Brazilian soccer.
Romario helped Brazil win a record fourth World Cup title in 1994 in the United States.
His popularity won him a seat as a congressman and then senator for his home state of Rio de Janeiro. He has said he plans to run for governor of Rio to reform the financially bankrupt state.
Reporting by Tatiana Ramil; Writing by Anthony Boadle; Editing by Leslie Adler