Brazilian celebrities sign open letter demanding football bosses resign

A file picture dated May 29, 2015, of Marco Polo del Nero, President of the Brazilian Soccer Confederation (CBF), during a press conference in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Marco Polo del Nero was among 16 additional Fifa officials being charged by US auth
A file picture dated May 29, 2015, of Marco Polo del Nero, President of the Brazilian Soccer Confederation (CBF), during a press conference in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Marco Polo del Nero was among 16 additional Fifa officials being charged by US authorities following the arrests of two Fifa vice-presidents in Zurich, Switzerland, on Dec 3, 2015.PHOTO: EPA

RIO DE JANEIRO (Reuters) - Some of the biggest names in Brazil's sporting and entertainment worlds have signed an open letter calling for the president of the Brazilian Football Confederation (CBF) to resign and authorities to investigate corruption inside the national game.

"We demand the definitive resignation of Marco Polo Del Nero and his directors, followed by free and democratic elections for command of the CBF," said a statement signed by 127 people and published by Juca Kfouri, a journalist and one of the signatories.

Del Nero was charged by US prosecutors on Dec 3 with participating in schemes designed to solicit and receive millions of dollars in bribes and kickbacks to sell media and marketing rights for soccer tournaments and matches.

His predecessor as CBF president, Jose Maria Marin, is jailed while awaiting trial on similar charges in an investigation by prosecutors in the United States and Switzerland into corruption in world soccer's governing body Fifa that has led to 41 indictments so far.

Ricardo Teixeira, another former president of the CBF from 1989 to 2012 and a former FIFA executive committee member, was also charged.

The letter, signed by soccer greats Pele, Zico and Tostao, said meaningful elections were impossible under the current CBF statutes it called "illegal and immoral."

The signatories, which included singer-songwriter Chico Buarque, actor Wagner Moura, and Walter Salles, director of hit movies Central Station and The Motorcycle Diaries, called for a thorough investigation into corrupt dealings inside Brazilian football.

"We call on the Attorney General, the Federal Police and the Inland Revenue to not permit any impunity for those who have corrupted or want to continue corrupting (Brazilian) football," the letter said.

Also on Tuesday, Fifa Vice-President Juan Angel Napout, a Paraguayan who is president of the South American Football Confederation, CONMEBOL, was extradited to the United States to face corruption charges, the Swiss Federal Office of Justice said.

CONMEBOL elections to replace officials caught up in the probe were expected to take place in January.