Ricardo Teixeira resigned as head of the CBF – Brazil’s football governing body – last month after 23 years in the job. Good riddance I say to this horrible man. His reign finally came to an end after the corruption allegations against him gained momentum and his health deteriorated. The allegations included money laundering, tax evasion, misuse of public funds, trafficking of influence and other nice things like that. He had also been suffering from illness and had taken temporary leave from his post before his resignation. In the end it was quite a fall from grace for a man who wanted to become the next head of FIFA. Thankfully, any chance of that happening is now gone.
To give a balanced report, let me mention his achievements. There are some, to be fair. The seleção’s record in his time in command has been quite good. Some Brazilians may argue it should have been better but two World Cup wins out of six attempts is not bad, even if it’s Brazil. As well as the two World Cups (1994 and 2002), Brazil won three Confederations Cups (1997, 2005 and 2009) and five Copa Americas (1989, 1997, 1999, 2004 and 2007).
He also created the Brazilian Cup (Copa do Brasil) in 1989 and transformed the Brazilian Serie A into a league format where number of points decides the winner (with no knockout phase at the end) in 2003. Not necessarily a good thing that last one. And of course he lead Brazil’s successful bid to host the 2014 World Cup. It was the only country bidding of course so anybody could have done that to be fair. Something I think he should have done but didn’t was tidy up the fixture list and shorten the length of the state championships.
The CBF, his own personal toy and cash cow
When he became the CBF boss back in 1989, it was an unprofitable organization that relied on state funding. He turned the finances of the organization around, cut all reliance on state funding and made the entity profitable. Very good. Absolutely…. but…. what Teixeira doesn’t realise is that he was in a position of public service, that Brazilian football is not for one man to own, it was not for sale, he did not buy it, it was not his to own and nor will it ever be one individual’s to own.
Teixeira was unbelievably crass about it. His attitude was that the CBF was his own personal toy, his own company, his own nice little earner. Any question or criticism was just an annoyance. He comes across as a man who hates people. And he didn’t care about football in Brazil. He doesn’t even like football.
In a damning but brilliant report in the Piauí magazine in July last year, when a journalist spent a week in his company in Swizterland, he said: ”What the fuck do these people have to do with the CBF accounts? What the fuck do they have to do with the accounts of HSBC or Bradesco? They are all PR-VATE entities. Why the hell does everybody keep busting my balls with this stuff (questioning the CBF accounts and accusing him of corruption)”.
The brilliant report also showed how he brushed of corruption allegations and boasted of the fact that he changed the time of a Brazil v Argentina football match to run through two soap operas and the eight o clock news. Globo (Brazil’s privately owned media giant) had to show the match and lost serious amounts of money in lost advertising revenue. Why did Teixeira do this? Because Globo published a story about corruption allegations against him on the national news channel (the national news is private in Brazil by the way). Globo never reported any corruption scandals against him again on their main news channel ever again. ”If it doens’t appear on Globo news then it isn’t news. Who the hell cares about ESPN, Lance and Uol and Folha” boasted Teixeira.
Compared to Teixeira, Sepp Blatter look like a bastion of democracy.
São Paulo stadium fiasco
Another one of Teixeira’s proud achievements (sense the sarcasm) was the São Paulo stadium fiasco. What happened is that Teixeira had long standing beef with the president of São Paulo football club (one of the most well run in the country) and so decided not to use the Morumbi stadium (which is the biggest and best in São Paulo and belongs to São Paulo FC) to host World Cup matches. São Paulo FC’s loss but very much Corinthians’ gain since it was decided that Corinthians’ new 70,000 seater Itaquerão stadium (currently being built) will host games instead.
The only reason Corinthians were able to build this stadium is the huge tax break they have received in order to do so: R$400m in tax exemptions of a total cost of R$890. The São Paulo government is putting up R$70m and the Brazilian state development bank the BNDES is providing R$420m in subsidized loans. If they hadn’t have been given the tax break or state help, they wouldn’t have built the stadium. If they hadn’t have built the stadium, São Paulo wouldn’t be holding any games. Unthinkable.
Fortunately it was avoided and São Paulo will be hosting six matches at the Cup (at the Itaquerão stadium) including the opening and a semi final. But at what cost to the taxpayer who are funding the stadium of a private club? Orland Silva, the minister of Sports who oversaw this fine mess, has also subsequently resigned after corruption charges against him. Andres Sanches, the ex-Corinthians boss who struck the deal for Corinthians, now works for the CBF. Suspicious? You bet.
And it certainly is a family affair. Marco Antí´nio Teixeira (Ricardo’s uncle) worked at the CBF as secretary general for many years too. He was fired shortly before Ricardo resigned, presumably RT trying to find a fall guy for some of the allegations. Ricardo Teixeira’s daughter, Joana, was named as the director-executive of the World Cup organizing committee. And of course Ricardo Teixeira was once married to Lúcia Havelange, the daughter of the ex-CBF and Fifa boss João Havelange, another great bastion of democracy in the football world. He married Lúcia before he got the job and they got divorced after he got the job, just as a matter of fact.
Teixeira’s hate of the British press
Forget Lula, come here and tell me what you have for me.
Those are the words that Teixeira apparently said to David Triesman, the ex-English FA boss. According to Triesman, Teixeira asked him for money in order for him to vote for England’s 2018 World Cup bid. Not very happy with this and other allegations from the English (a BBC Panorama programme said he received kickbacks throughout the 90’s), Teixeira subsequently declared war on all British journalists and threatened to bar them stadium access at the 2014 World Cup: ”I’ll make their life hell. While I’m in the CBF, or FIFA, wherever, they won’t get in”. He also clearly has a twisted sense of reality: ”Do you believe everything that comes out in the press?” he told Piaui’s reporter Daniela Pinheiro. ”The English are pissed off because they lost (their bid to host the 2018 World Cup). BBC is owned by the state, the government, get it? The British government wants to annul Russia’s winning vote and take Brazil out of the race because they think they can take the cup away from us at the last minute. It’s all a plot”.
The future looks…. not very bright to be honest
As for the future, it doesn’t look all that bright. Teixeira’s immediate replacement José Maria Marin will likely remain as boss of the CBF until after the World Cup. This is a man, remember, who wasn’t just accused of stealing a medal but actually did a few weeks back. Classy. He then had a rant at the media who questioned him about it. He is 79 now so hopefully won’t be around for long. But who will take over after him? Ronaldo? Now a businessman but who badly hurt his own image by publicly defending Teixeira. Romario? Incidentally now a politician and very public critic of Ricardo Teixeira. Who knows? I wouldn’t hold my breath for anyone good though.
But for now, lets just celebrate the demise of Teixeira. That’ll keep me happy for sometime at least.
Goodbye Teixeira, you pig!
Agree/disagree? Leave a comment.
Very well said, the entire post. I fully agree with it.
I have to say that we have a long way ahead of us, like shortening the state championships for starters. But this was the first step on the road. Now, things won’t change much until after our World Cup, and then the CBF will hold elections… Let’s hope for the best (though it’s difficult to say who is “the best” for Brazilian football at these times).
Here is the brilliant Piaui magazine article on him last year (in Portuguese only I’m afraid):
Nice one. You would probably enjoy the little piece I wrote for Anything Palmeiras in August 2010, well before the tax breaks for the Itaqueirão had been negotiated… http://anythingpalmeiras.com/2010/08/31/connect-the-dots/