Former Brazil soccer boss probed for money laundering

Reuters – 06/01/2015

The former head of the Brazilian soccer federation, Ricardo Teixeira, is facing charges of money laundering and tax evasion, a police source said on Monday, as an international bribery scandal put the spotlight on Brazil’s national sport.

Teixeira’s successor as president of the CBF federation, José Maria Marin, was arrested on Wednesday by Swiss police along with six other executives of world soccer body FIFA on indictments for corruption brought by U.S. authorities.

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US tackles Brazil’s dirty game

Joe Leahy – Financial Times, 5/29/2015

Before this week, José Maria Marin was best known in Brazil for getting caught on camera in 2012 furtively pocketing a gold medal at a junior soccer awards ceremony.
The former head of Brazil’s football federation, the CBF, later barked at journalists that their obsession with the incident was “a real joke”. The medal had been a present, he insisted.

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Head of Brazilian federation flees Switzerland ahead of FIFA presidential vote

Martin Rogers –  USA TODAY, 5/29/2015

World soccer’s corruption scandal took another bizarre twist on Thursday when the head of Brazil’s national federation fled Switzerland on the eve of the presidential vote that will decide whether Sepp Blatter remains in charge of FIFA.

Marco Polo Del Nero left Switzerland along with members of his personal delegation, amid reports that he was panicked by the arrest of his predecessor Jose Maria Marin in Zurich the previous day.

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Brazil’s Fans Turn to Violent Crime as Economy Sputters

Eric Ehrmann – Huffington Post, 5/12/2015

In São Paulo recently, gunmen raided the fan club of popular first division soccer team Corinthians called Pavilion 9 during a party, forced eight members to the floor and murdered them in cold blood.

The mob-style rubout killed more people than the infamous St. Valentines Day Massacre orchestrated by Chicago gangster Al Capone.

But in Brazil, where riots and killings are part of the urban landscape, people shrug it off and the victims become part of the body count in the growing conflict between haves and have-nots.

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FIFA made an insane amount of money off of Brazil’s $15 billion World Cup

Tony Manfred – Business Insider, 3/20/2015

FIFA released its 2014 financial report, and it shows how the organization profited off the World Cup that cost Brazil billions. The 2014 World Cup generated $4.8 billion in revenue for FIFA compared to $2.2 billion in expenses. Over the four-year cycle, the event turned a $2.6 billion profit.

FIFA made $2.4 billion in TV rights fees, $1.6 billion in sponsorships, and $527 million in ticket sales.

Much of FIFA’s World Cup spending went to participating teams and confederations ($476 million) and TV production costs ($370 million). FIFA contributed $453 million to the local organizing committee between 2011 and 2014, and gave Brazil a $100 million “legacy” payment after the tournament.

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Neymarketing: The one-man brand from Brazil

Ben Lyttleton – Goal, 3/5/2015

There are six players in the Rich List Top 20 who are under 30, but only one under 26. That man is Neymar, 23, who comes in third with an estimated net worth of 135 million euros ($149 million). That huge figure is not just a reflection of his football talent – although Brazilians see him as the best player in the world already, his confirmation of that status might be a few years away – but rather a perfect storm of contributing factors to create the optimal earning template.

Timing is the most important element of the ‘Neymarketing’ success story. His talent developed and blossomed at a period in Brazil’s history when its economy was on the up, increasing by four percent a year between 2002 and 2010. That allowed him to stay at Santos, his club in Brazil, for longer than other Brazilians normally would before moving to Europe. Neymar’s commercial pull encouraged sponsors to pay his Santos salary, and he only moved in 2013 because it was felt he needed a season facing European opposition to prepare for the challenge of the 2014 World Cup on home soil.

That was the other significant factor of timing for Neymar: the World Cup. Every company wanted to be part of the biggest competition in the world, and it so happened that the home side’s best player and star turn was an advertisers’ dream. Even if the economy was not as strong as it had been, Brazil is a country of over 200 million people and they all need toothpaste, a bank, deodorant or car batteries (he was the face of all those products).

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Brazil’s $3 Billion World Cup Stadiums Are Turning Into White Elephants 6 Months Later

Tony Manfred – Business Insider, 1/23/2015

Brazil spent $3.6 billion building and renovating 12 venues for the 2014 World Cup. Despite needing only eight venues to meet FIFA regulations, the country decided to build additional stadiums from scratch in far-flung cities that didn’t need 40,000-seat soccer arenas.

Predictably, those stadiums have not justified the cost in the six months since the tournament ended.The $230 million Arena Pantanal, in Cuiaba, has been closed for emergency repairs less than a year after it opened. Officials say the region’s seasonal rains led to roof leaks and the air-conditioning broke.

According to the Associated Press, the city has only two local teams that draw between 500 and 1,000 fans a game. The stadium holds 42,000 people.

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