FIFA has consistently opposed external intervention in its member associations, potentially placing Brazil at risk of exclusion from major competitions. In a warning issued to Brazil, FIFA cautioned that it might suspend the nation’s national teams and clubs from international tournaments if the intervention by its soccer body results in the election of a new president in January.
Expressed in a letter to a high-ranking Brazilian soccer executive, FIFA outlined the potential suspension facing the country’s soccer entity, CBF, should it proceed with expeditious elections to replace President Ednaldo Rodrigues, disregarding FIFA’s recommendation to delay. This information was obtained by The Associated Press.
Recent events have significantly impacted the situation. On December 7, a Rio de Janeiro court removed Rodrigues and his appointees from CBF office due to irregularities in his prior election, a ruling upheld by Brazil’s highest courts last week.
FIFA’s firm stance against external interference could lead to Brazil’s absence from major competitions until the crisis is resolved. The court ruling in Rio designated José Perdiz, head of Brazil’s top sports court, as an intervener to organize new presidential elections within 30 working days. FIFA has previously voiced its disapproval of this intervention to CBF, considering it unwarranted.
The warning letter issued on Sunday was signed by FIFA’s Kenny Jean-Marie, the chief members’ association officer, and CONMEBOL‘s deputy secretary-general, Monserrat Jiménez Garcia.
FIFA and CONMEBOL announced plans in the letter to form a commission to discuss the matter in Brazil on January 8. The letter emphasized that no decisions affecting CBF, including elections, should occur until this mission takes place. Failure to comply might force FIFA to submit the matter to its relevant decision-making body, potentially leading to suspension.
The document highlighted that if CBF faces suspension, it would lose all membership rights immediately, preventing its representatives and club teams from participating in international competitions. FIFA’s statutes outline potential sanctions, including suspension, for any irregular interference in its member associations, even if the third-party influence is not directly the fault of the association.
Perdiz regarded FIFA’s letter as a positive sign and committed to conducting elections within the specified deadline with transparency and integrity. However, spokespeople for Rodrigues did not respond to requests for comment from the AP.
Rodrigues, who assumed office as interim president in 2021, is reportedly in discussions with other Brazilian soccer executives regarding a potential bid for the presidency in new elections or supporting another candidate. Despite legal issues faced by previous CBF presidents, Rodrigues is not implicated in corruption cases like his predecessors Ricardo Teixeira, José Maria Marin, and Marco Polo del Nero.
The ruling against Rodrigues, whose term extends through 2026, could impact Brazil’s bid to host the Women’s World Cup in 2027 and his efforts to appoint Real Madrid coach Carlo Ancelotti to lead the national team next year.