Marco Polo del Nero has temporarily vacated his position as president of the Brazilian Football Federation (CBF) after becoming embroiled in the corruption scandal engulfing FIFA.
The CBF made the announcement on Thursday, confirming Del Nero had asked for a leave of absence, with Marcus Antonio Vicente to occupy the role on an interim basis.
Del Nero’s request comes after he was one of 16 individuals charged by United States officials on Thursday as part of their investigation into corruption within world football’s governing body.
The 74-year-old, who stepped down from FIFA’s Executive Committee last week, is on the new “superseding” 92-count indictment, which alleges “racketeering, wire fraud and money laundering conspiracies” with “sustained abuse of [the defendants’] positions for financial gain”.
In a statement released late on Thursday, the CBF said: “The Brazilian Football Confederation hereby announces, in view of the news aired today that president Marco Polo Del Nero has filed a request for a leave of absence in order to devote himself to his defense, in light of having been named in charges reported by the US Justice and the FIFA Ethics Committee.
“In none of the above reported was conferred knowledge to the president of the content of the charges, being sure of his absolute conviction on the evidence of his innocence, as he is able to exercise the religious and constitutional rights to contradict this and to get a full defense.
“In this period of leave, the president, in compliance with its statutory tasks, assigns, temporarily, to exercise the presidency of the CBF vice-president Marcus Antonio Vicente.”
The news of 16 more charges follows the arrests of CONCACAF and CONMEBOL presidents Alfredo Hawit and Juan Angel Napou in Zurich on suspicion of accepting bribes worth millions of dollars.