Brazil's soccer federation chief suspended

·2-min read

The president of the Brazilian Football Confederation (CBF) has been removed from office for 30 days by the organisation's ethics commission, only a week before Brazil is due to host the Copa America.

Brazilian news reports said Rogerio Caboclo was accused of sexually harassing an employee.

Caboclo denies any wrongdoing.

"The decision is secret and the process will proceed before the aforementioned commission with the aim of investigating the complaint that was presented," the CBF said in a brief statement.

For now, 82-year-old Antonio Carlos Nunes de Lima will take over as interim president.

The decision to remove Caboclo comes just seven days before the Copa America is due to kick off in Brazil, amid turmoil on and off the field before tournament scheduled to run from June 13 to July 10.

Brazil was unexpectedly chosen to host the tournament featuring 10 South American teams last week after Colombia was removed due to civil unrest and co-host Argentina pulled out after a surge in COVID-19 cases.

But the decision appeared to anger the Brazil players and coach and they promised to make a public statement on Tuesday - after their World Cup qualifier against Paraguay - on whether or not they will play in the continental tournament.

The furore has rocked the soccer-mad nation and came amid reports that Caboclo was under investigation after having been accused of sexual harassment by a female employee.

Globoesporte, the sports web site that broke the news, said the 48-year-old had made sexual comments and was abusive to an unnamed female employee.

The controversy is the latest in a long string of scandals to hit the powerful organisation that runs football in the only nation to win the World Cup five times.

Caboclo's three predecessors were all found guilty of bribery by FIFA's ethics committee and banned for life from all football-related activities.

Caboclo last week faced his most difficult period since taking office in 2019 after coach Tite and his players confronted him over his decision to host the Copa, which was taken in conjunction with Brazil's far-right president Jair Bolsonaro.

The defending Copa America champions are due to open the 2021 tournament against Venezuela in Brasilia on June 13.

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