Fifa's Blatter Could Untrack Brazil's Football "Reforms"

In an attempt to have big government control the future ofpresident Dilma Rousseff is submitting legislation to "modernize" the national pastime to a fractious Federal Congress for review and approval.

In an attempt to have big government control the future of futebol president Dilma Rousseff is submitting legislation to "modernize" the national pastime to a fractious Federal Congress for review and approval.

The legislation seeks to improve the quality of football programs for men and women starting at the youth level as well as the increasingly popular game of arena football.

But the Brazilian Football Confederation (CBF) claims it doesn't need government intervention because it's already engaged in its own modernization program.

Although strapped for cash the CBF says it is modernizing thanks to a $100million "bonus" gifted by FIFA after the organization reaped a net profit of $2.6billion from last year's Brazil World Cup tournament.

One of the jewels in the crown of FIFA president Sepp Blatter's empire, the CBF has benefited from government loans and sports marketing slush funds during military and civilian governments.

President Dilma, who is not a football fan, is calling for the CBF to show greater transparency on financial matters and to implement modern corporate governance to replace the closed door decision making it has long been noted for.

A proposal to impose term limits on national and state CBF officials has also been discussed. But it's unlikely that it will be included even if a symbolic, heavily vetted bill is approved by the Congress as a face saving measure to appease both sides.

Clearly, president Dilma's agenda, which her press team claims is essential to the future of Brazilian futebol, seeks a legislative basis for making the CBF and its minions more accountable under Brazilian law rather than operating with impunity like a state within a state.

Unfortunately, accountability for the most contentious economic issue in Brazilian professional football, that of third party ownership of players, which is embedded in football culture throughout Latin America, is not included in president Dilma's proposed legislation.

Third party ownership has long been a piactice of teams and international syndicates who scout and contract young Brazilian players for the sole purpose of selling them for profit abroad, sometimes to teams in the Premier League, Europe, and Asia.

While the CBF claims it unilaterally outlawed third party ownership ahead of a new FIFA rule that was announced in January Reuters and other sources say the actual start date for the FIFA ruling is not until May 1st.

Teams and other third party ownership syndicates have plenty of time to test just how quickly FIFA will penalize slackers in Brazil and elsewhere who work around the ban.

Meanwhile, FIFA president Joseph "Sepp" Blatter claims the modernization program proposed by the Brazilian government is meddling in CBF and FIFA affairs.

Flexing his muscles as part of his campaign to get reelected to a fifth term as president of FIFA in May the 79-year-old Blatter has launched a bullying campaign to discredit president Dilma's proposed legislation. Sports pundits and bloggers are already writing negative articles about her lack of football acumen in print and on social media in Brazil.

The Blatter-Rousseff feud also tests the credibility of the famous Forbes magazine annual power list.

President Dilma is rated at #31 on the list while FIFA boss Blatter is rated at #70.

As president of Brazil Dilma's approval rating has fallen dramatically in recent public opinion polls due to a package of unpopular reforms designed to fight inflation and preserve the nation's credibility in international financial markets.

In addition, the futebol caucus in the National Congress has many FIFA supporters including the president of the Congress, who seeks to disrupt president Dilma's fragile, three month old Workers Party coalition government.

Among the vox populi, even the legendary Pele, a product of the old school CBF, is on the record as endorsing Sepp Blatter's for a fifth term as president of FIFA.


What's Hot