Brazilian football great Romario, now a socialist lawmaker, on Wednesday called for a probe of his country’s Olympic committee over allegedly questionable sales for Rio’s summer Games in 2016.
The former FC Barcelona striker and 1994 World Cup winner pointed the finger at Carlos Nuzman, president of the Brazilian Olympic Committee (COB), and demanded an audit of its accounts and the source of public funds it is given.
He also insinuated that Patrick Hickey, a friend of Nuzman and member of the executive board of the International Olympic Committee, was abusing his post to ensure the contract for ticket sales for Ireland go to a subsidiary of a firm that employs his son, Stephen Hickey.
Brazil will not be completely ready to host the 2014 World Cup, according to former international striker Romario.
Romario, now a politician with Brazil’s Socialist Party (PSB), warned that the total cost for staging the competition in 2014 could jump from an estimated $44 billion to $55.5 billion and also claimed that renovation work on stadiums and transport in the country would not be complete in time.
“I think that Brazil won’t be 100% ready. Of the 12 stadiums [that are to stage World Cup events] maybe 10 will be ready,” he told magazine Istoe. “As to work on public transportation, none of the cities involved will be able to complete it fully.”
Romario scored a thousand goals, some of them so magical that even Brazilians were in awe of him. Zico played more than a thousand games, and at times he could make both the ball and the men around him dance to his imagination.
Exceptional talents, yet not always trusted in their game.
Some coaches felt that Zico, because he was small and slight, was somehow not man enough for the sport that became ever more reliant on physical power during his 23-year playing span, from 1971 to 1994.
Fifa general secretary Jerome Valcke has dismissed claims of corruption against Ricardo Teixeira, while Romario continued his offensive against the world governing body and the Brazilian Football Confederation (CBF) president.
The long-time chief of Brazilian football has faced bribery and fraud accusations in recent weeks, as he continues the task of preparing his country to host the World Cup in 2014. Teixeira is currently meeting with Valcke as part of his work as head of the Local Organising Committee in order to iron out differences between the two bodies.
Questioned over the allegations hovering over the Brazilian, Valcke insisted that he would not abandon Teixeira unless such charges were verified.
Fifa general secretary Jerome Valcke has strongly criticised Brazilian idol Romario and other figures unwilling to compromise national laws for the World Cup, stating that it was impossible to hold a successful tournament unless the host country and the governing body worked together.
Several high-profile politicians, including 1994 World Cup winner and current socialist deputy Romario, have denounced Fifa for its attempt to circumvent federal legislation for what they see as commercial benefits.
The organisation has pointed to laws discounting match tickets for certain low-income groups and the prohibition on the sale of alcohol in stadiums as particular problems as they negotiate the ‘General Law of the 2014 World Cup’.
Romario has criticised Brazil’s 2014 World Cup preparations, denounced chief organiser Ricardo Teixeira and lashed out at the government’s weakness in its dealings with soccer’s ruling body FIFA.
The former World Cup striker, now a member of parliament, failed this year in an attempt to bring Brazilian Football Confederation (CBF) president Teixeira before parliament to answer allegations of corruption.
Romario, however, believes this week’s police decision to open an investigation into Teixeira, who is also head of the World Cup organising committee, could be viewed as a green light for improving tournament preparations.