- Associated Press - Friday, March 9, 2012

SAO PAULO (AP) - Ricardo Teixeira will remain president of the 2014 World Cup local organizing committee despite taking a leave of absence from the Brazilian soccer federation.

The embattled head of Brazilian soccer released a statement on Friday confirming that he is temporarily leaving the federation, but he will continue as head of the World Cup organizing committee.

He said former Sao Paulo Governor Jose Maria Marin is taking over the federation’s presidency.

The O Globo newspaper reported Thursday that Teixeira was granted the leave of absence for medical reasons and could be out of the job for as long as 180 days.

There have been calls for his resignation recently amid allegations of irregularities in Brazil and abroad. His term ends in 2015.

In his brief statement Friday, Teixeira didn’t mention a medical problem, only saying that Marin would “temporarily” replace him as president.

Teixeira was twice investigated by Brazil’s Congress and recently was accused of taking kickbacks from former FIFA marketing partner ISL in the 1990s. He was also accused by the former chairman of England’s Football Association, David Triesman, of unethical behavior and improper conduct during bidding for the 2018 World Cup.

FIFA has promised to release documents on the ISL case relatively soon, and reports say Teixeira will be directly implicated.

Teixeira has led the Brazilian federation since 1989 and revamped the entity after it struggled financially. During his tenure, Brazil won the 1994 and 2002 World Cups, and the federation became one of the most valuable in the world.

But his 23-year stint ahead of the Brazilian soccer has been filled with controversy, and there have been calls for his resignation amid allegations of irregularities in Brazil and abroad, although he has always denied any wrongdoing.

The latest accusations against Teixeira came last month when the Folha de S. Paulo newspaper, Brazil’s largest, reported that prosecutors allegedly found evidence linking him and a company that organized a friendly between Brazil and Portugal in 2008 in Brasilia. The company is being investigated for irregularities in organizing the match.


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