U.S. probes Nike payments Under Brazil deal

Aruna Viswanatha and Sara Germano – The Wall Street Journal, 6/12/2015

U.S. authorities are examining payments made by Nike Inc. under a groundbreaking 1996 soccer sponsorship with Brazil for possible evidence of any wrongdoing by the company in addition to its counterparts in the deal, people familiar with the matter said.

The examination indicates the company is still of interest as the Justice Department pursues its wide-ranging probe of corruption in the global soccer business.

Allegations of corruption around Nike’s 10-year, $160 million agreement to sponsor Brazil’s national team are discussed in barely veiled terms in the Justice Department’s 161-page indictment of officials in and around soccer’s governing body, FIFA.

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A year later, Brazil’s FIFA World Cup infrastructure still not built

Kenneth Rapoza – Forbes, 06/07/2015

The FIFA World Cup. It promises developing nations status, stadiums with wi-fi and cup holders, roads, bridges and new airport terminals. And let’s not forget, sponsorship parties! But I digress…

Last year’s FIFA World Cup left Brazilians crying in disbelief as their national team took looked like the Muppets on the field with the Germans. The consolation prize at least was all this new development that was promised when FIFA awarded the country with the soccer championship back in October 2007. Shiny trains. More efficient airports. Less traffic in Sao Paulo. FIFA might be worth it after all.

But an investigative report Sunday by Folha de Sao Paulonewspaper shows that R$11 billion ($3.5 billion) worth of 35 projects budgeted  in 2010 are not complete and a handful of simply been abandoned. A year after the World Cup, Brazil’s FIFA projects for public transportation and airport terminal extensions at places like Guarulhos International (GRU) in Sao Paulo and Afonso Pena International (CWB) in Curitiba are incomplete.

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Brazil launches congressional inquiry into corruption after Fifa arrests

Jonathan Watts – The Guardian, 5/29/2015

The fallout from the police swoop on Fifa executives continues to grow in Brazil, where the police and congress have launched inquiries into alleged money laundering and tax evasion.

The focus of the investigation is the former president of the Brazilian Football Confederation (CBF) José Maria Marin, who was arrested in Zurich on Wednesday, but is likely to widen to include his predecessor and other senior football officials.

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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 president urges broad investigation after FIFA probe

IBN Live – 5/28/2015

Brazil’s President Dilma Rousseff called on Wednesday for a comprehensive investigation of wrongdoing in soccer after U.S. and Swiss authorities announced separate inquiries into the activities of the game’s powerful governing body, FIFA.

Speaking to reporters on a visit to Mexico City, Rousseff said she believed the probes, which embroiled a senior Brazilian soccer figure, would help Brazil, and she urged authorities to look into all tournaments and soccer activities.

Among those detained was Jose Maria Marin, former head of the Brazilian Football Confederation (CBF).

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In Brazil, FIFA scandal met with sense of vindication

Taylor Barnes, USA Today – 5/28/2015

As word of the arrests of 14 FIFA officials and sports executives spread, many Brazilians responded with surprise, a measure of support and a sense of vindication over the news.

The country has seen large-scale protests since 2013, often directed at the government with many exasperated with expenditures on last year’s World Cup and the Summer Olympics, which Rio de Janeiro will host next year.

In the year since the World Cup, outsize stadiums built in cities across Brazil that do not have soccer clubs large enough to fill them have reportedly been used as bus parking lots, and venues to host children’s parties, weddings and religious events.

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