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Pele, Zico, lead calls for Brazil federation chief to resign




Brazil legends Pele and Zico have signed an open letter calling for change in the Brazilian Football Confederation (CBF), starting with the departure of its president who is facing corruption charges in the United States.

“We demand the definitive resignation of (CBF president) Marco Polo Del Nero and his directors, followed by free and democratic elections,” read a statement following an initiative by Bom Senso FC (‘Common Sense FC’), a collective of current and former players led by 1994 World Cup winner Rai.

Among the 130 signatories of the letter were the recently-retired goalkeeper Rogerio Ceni, the coach Tite and the prominent singer-songwriter Chico Buarque.

The letter also called for the elections to be held “without the current electoral threshold, a mechanism which prevents the emergence of independent positions in the system because it demands candidates obtain eight signatures from federations and five from clubs.”

Del Nero, 74, asked to be placed on leave at the beginning of this month “in order to dedicate himself to preparing his defence” in the US case and a separate FIFA ethics inquiry.

The US corruption investigation has targeted Del Nero as well as his predecessors at the head of the CBF, Jose Maria Marin (2012 to 2015) and Ricardo Teixeira (1989 to 2012).

The letter also called for the Brazilian authorities to open their own investigation into the corruption allegations.

The CBF was due to meet on Wednesday to appoint a vice-president in place of Marin — who was arrested by Swiss police in Zurich along with six other FIFA officials on May 27 and has since been extradited to the United States — and Del Nero should he not return to his position.

“We believe in his innocence and will continue to do so,” said CBF general secretary Walter Feldman.

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