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Romario calls for indictments of Brazil football bosses

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Former soccer player and Senator Romario speaks during the session debating the voting for the impeachment of President Dilma Rousseff in Brasilia, Brazil, Brazil, May 11, 2016. REUTERS/Ueslei Marcelino /files
Former soccer player and Senator Romario speaks during the session debating the voting for the impeachment of President Dilma Rousseff in Brasilia, Brazil, Brazil, May 11, 2016. REUTERS/Ueslei Marcelino /files

By Andrew Downie

SAO PAULO (Reuters) - Romario, the former World Cup winner turned senator, called in a report on Wednesday for the indictment of seven Brazilian football officials in what he called "the biggest sports scandal of all time."

The president of the Brazilian Football Confederation (CBF), Marco Polo Del Nero, was one of those accused of crimes that include racketeering, money laundering and tax offenses.

His two predecessors in the job, Ricardo Teixeira and Jose Maria Marin, were accused of similar crimes by Romario and Randolfe Rodrigues, the two senators who led a year-long parliamentary investigation into football-related corruption.

"We can sum this up by stating that practically everything the CBF did under the control of these people we cited was corrupt," Rodrigues said.

"Supply of goods and services, sponsorship contracts, contracts for friendly matches, player transfers: it was all a scheme to receive advantages that gave a life of luxury to officials who worked only for themselves."

The call, made in the capital Brasilia, was a response to what the senators said was an earlier white-washed report made by commission colleagues.

"On one hand we have a whitewash, which has only generic and painless suggestions, with no investigation, no list of crimes committed and no suggestion of indictments," Rodrigues said.

"On our side, we can state that this is a document produced with hard work and seriousness. In it, we describe in rich detail the diverse crimes and the way they were committed by leaders of the CBF, from Ricardo Teixeira to Marco Polo Del Nero, through Jose Maria Marin."

The Senate inquiry was prompted by the U.S.-led investigation into worldwide football corruption.

The investigation began in May 2015 with a dawn raid in Switzerland that detained Marin and eight other top-ranking football officials accused of conspiracy and corruption. Six months later another 16 people were indicted.

Del Nero, who has led the CBF since April last year, was one of those named and also is being investigated by FIFA's ethics committee.

He left Switzerland just hours after the May raids took place and has not left Brazil since. Brazil's constitution forbids the extradition of its citizens.

Marin currently is under house arrest in New York but Teixeira and Del Nero are in Brazil and have not faced charges.

Romario said the documents and evidence contained in the 1,024-page report will be sent to FIFA and Brazil's Public Ministry.

(Reporting by Andrew Downie; Editing by Bill Trott)


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