After Brazil’s dominant play in World Cup qualifying, you would think that Brazilian Football Confederation (CBF) president Marco Polo Del Nero would be excited about attending next year’s event in Russia. You would, it seems, be wrong in making that assumption. On Tuesday, during the 3rd Symposium on Continuing Education of the National Commission of Football Physicians (CNMF), Del Nero spoke briefly to reporters, and the CBF boss was reluctant to say whether he would even attend the 2018 World Cup in Russia.
Del Nero has yet to leave Brazil since May of 2015, when his predecessor, José Maria Marín, was arrested in Switzerland and extradited to the United States, where he awaits trial, currently scheduled for November 6th. After FIFA investigations revealed allegations of racketeering, wire fraud, and money laundering conspiracy, Marín and the rest of the CBF came under high scrutiny.
Possibly as a result of that situation, Nero has been hesitant to commit to traveling to Europe. He didn’t write off going, but he also didn’t seem eager to say he would attend. “Every day we make an assessment of our life, our work, our evaluations,” he told reporters. Brazil’s football president also denied claims that he applied for a diplomatic passport. “I did not ask for a passport anywhere, I have my passport, it’s in order. They have journalists who are folkloric.” He also claimed that he was worried that people would insult him as a “pe-frio,” someone who brings bad luck to their team. Surely, it would be bad luck to have the country’s soccer boss arrested on the eve of the World Cup, but just to be insulted would be an acceptable risk to see your country in the World Cup.
One thing Del Nero was sure of is Brazil’s support of its fellow CONMEBOL members Paraguay, Argentina, and Uruguay in their pursuit of a joint 2030 World Cup bid; the president penned a public letter expressing Brazil’s backing.