PtG Article 28.10.2011

Allegations of corruption forced Brazil's sports minister to step down

In Brazil, the sports minister Orlando Silva has resigned from his government post after the country's Supreme Court decided to investigate serious accusations of corruption that have been levelled against him in different media over the past few weeks. Silva says he is leaving government in order to defend his honour.

According to the Latin American Herald Tribune, the complaints that led to Silva’s resignation came from Joao Dias Ferreira, a former police officer. Ferreria headed a martial arts foundation that received money from the Sports Ministry through the program that subsidises organisations dedicated to serving low-income youth.

Ferreira was arrested last year on charges that he embezzled money from the ministry program, but he complained that in order to get access to Sports Ministry resources he was obligated to pay commissions to Silva or his aides.

The now former sports minister has appeared three times before Congress in order to deny the accusations, but when the Supreme Court decided to investigate the allegations, the patience of Brazil's President Dilma Rousseff was exhausted, and Silva was asked to step down.

Brazil is set to host the World Cup in football in 2014 and the Olympic Games in 2016, but FIFA as well as the IOC have received the news of Silva's departure with calm.

According to the Associated Press, the IOC says that it is "confident this change will not impact preparations for Rio 2016."

FIFA secretary general Jerome Valcke said that he regrets the situation but expects that FIFA will soon be informed about who will be the new essential link to Brazil's government.

Brazil has in fact already appointed a new sports minister. It is Communist Party congressman Aldo Rebelo who will be taking over as the government's point man for the 2014 World Cup and 2016 Olympics.Read more at the Latin American Herald Tribune.For more details in English about the allegations, read more at Bloomberg.