Jose Maria Marin, the former president of the Brazilian Football Confederation (CBF) and in charge of the organization as his country hosted last year’s World Cup, is no stranger to scandal. The arrest of the 83-year-old career lawyer and politician by agents investigating corruption at the heart of world football is the former governor of Sao Paulo’s latest brush with controversy.
Marin earned widespread derision in 2012 when, as vice-president of the CBF, he slipped a player’s winning medal into his pocket at a Sao Paulo cup match. Marin dismissed the incident as a “joke.” A year later, his position came under threat after the son of a tortured and murdered reporter, Vladimir Herzog, called for his removal.
When he was a congressman in 1975 he had asked for measures against the kind of journalism performed by the TV station where Herzog worked.
Former Brazil star turned senator Romario has been vocal in his criticism of Marin ahead and after the World Cup, gathering more than 50,000 signatures to an online petition calling on him to resign and demanding an enquiry into the Herzog affair.
“Jose Maria Marin is a thief of medals, of energy, of public land and a defender of the dictatorship,” Romario said, after Brazil lost 7-1 to Germany in the World Cup semi-final. Marin, who handed the CBF reins to Marco Polo del Nero earlier this year, is a current member of the FIFA organizing committee for next year’s Olympics. He briefly played for Sao Paulo football club.