A shocking story comes out of Brazil as one of the country’s largest newspapers has released an investigative report that the Brazilian national team has sold its squad selection and teamsheets to a marketing company.
According to the report, written by Jamil Chade of Estadão, former Brazilian Federation (CBF) president Ricardo Teixeira negotiated a contract with marketing firm Internacional Sports Events that requires any change in the Brazilian squad must have the approval of all commercial sponsors, and top players must start every single game with no room for youngsters until they prove to have enough “marketing value.”
The report states that Teixeira and his father-in-law, former FIFA president Joao Havelange made nearly $40 million in bribes off the contract. In return, it gave ISE – a sport listed in the Cayman Islands and with no official employees – exclusive marketing rights for all Brazil matches as well as sole possession of the ability to sell broadcast rights. According to the report, ISE is a subsidiary of Saudi Arabian contract and holdings company Dallah-Al Bakara. Mohyedin Bin Saleh Kamel, a member of the Dallah-Al Bakara Board of Trustees, also appears on the contracts obtained by Estadão.
The contract was signed back in 2006, according to the report, and it was reportedly re-upped for another 10 years in 2011 by Teixeira. It reportedly earns $1.05 million per match for the CBF, with monetary penalties for playing players not approved by ISE or those with a lesser marketing value. In addition, if any player is left out due to injury, it must provide ISE with proper medical documentation to prove that he is in fact injured.
It was all meant to remain secret, with a confidentiality agreement listed at the bottom of the contract. When Teixeira went to resign his post as president of CBF, there was an internal power struggle, according to the report, with different parties hoping to secure a contract of the sort with different vying companies.
It’s unclear at the moment what kind of impact this new report will have across FIFA, but it’s hard to imagine they would come down hard on one of the world’s biggest soccer powers. In addition, Havelange is often rumored to have financially assisted Sepp Blatter’s presidential campaign, and while Blatter isn’t the biggest on loyalty, Havelange is no threat to his position.
On the other hand, while corruption in South American soccer is nothing new, corruption on this scale, allowing for teamsheets to be decided by companies based on marketing value instead of soccer talent, is a whole new level. It may not go over so well given the manner Brazil was eliminated in shocking 7-0 fashion, and many will want young talent to be given a chance instead of the established veterans.