Brazil’s New Sports Minister to Be Point Man for World Cup and Olympics

Sports minister Aldo Rebelo In Brazil, the downfall of minister of Sports, Orlando Silva, and investigations of his predecessor, Agnelo Queiroz, now the governor of the Federal District, stem from questionable relations, in the form of service contracts, between the ministry and non-governmental organizations for the execution of ministerial programs.

Money disappeared, going to NGOs with links to the minister’s political party, the PCdoB, Communist Party of Brazil.

The new minister of Sports, Aldo Rebelo also from the PcdoB-SP, in his first comments following his appointment, declared that he will avoid contracts with NGOs.

Rebelo is also expected to make many personnel changes in the ministry, where aides to the former minister are accused of being involved in the embezzlement scheme.

However, Rebelo made it clear that the changes were not because anyone was considered guilty of criminal activities. “Changes do not mean that anyone is being condemned. Investigations will continue and the ministry will cooperate,” he declared.

Rebelo denied receiving campaign contributions from companies with commercial contracts with the Brazilian Soccer Federation (CBF) and added that they would not affect his work at the Ministry of Sports, anyway.

He concluded by saying that he would be independent in his relations with FIFA, the International Soccer Association, that will hold the World Soccer Cup in Brazil in 2014, and intends to defend the General Law of the Cup and other interests of the Brazilian government.

As expected, Brazilian president Dilma Rousseff appointed a Communist Party congressman as the country’s new Sports minister Thursday, replacing Orlando Silva, an official from the same party who resigned as he fights corruption allegations.
 
Rebelo will be the government’s point man for the 2014 World Cup and 2016 Olympics.

Rebelo served as former president Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva’s minister for political coordination and institutional relations in 2004 and 2005 and he was president of the lower house of Congress, the Chamber of Deputies, from 2005 to 2007.

“I received an invitation and I accepted,” said Rebelo after meeting with President Rousseff.

Rebelo, 56, started as a student leader and journalist, joined the Communist party in 1977 and was first elected to Congress in 1991. Currently he was steering through Congress the new Forestry Code which basically regulates occupation of land and use of soil in the Amazon basin.

The original Executive text has had several chapters modified which allegedly favor big landowners and loggers and thus clashing with president Rousseff. At the time Rebelo went as far as to suggest that “the President is misinformed and influenced by radical environmentalist groups.”

Candido Vaccarezza head of the government’s group in the Lower House downplayed the conflict to which he referred as ‘normal’ in the political debate: “he is a very much respected lawmaker and you can’t judge a person committed to peoples’ causes on an episode”.

Orlando Silva resigned Wednesday after Brazil’s Supreme Court said it had opened an investigation into allegations he had taken kickbacks on sports-related projects. Silva has denied the accusations before a congressional panel.

Silva is the sixth minister forced from Rousseff’s government. Five of the others also had faced corruption allegations.

FIFA’s top administrator, secretary general Jerome Valcke, said Thursday that he regrets the situation that forced Silva to resign.

Meanwhile, the IOC said its relationship with Brazilian government officials “remains excellent,” and that it is “confident the changes will not impact preparations for Rio 2016.”

ABr/MP

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