A messy legal battle over the leadership of the Brazilian Football Confederation (CBF) took a new twist Thursday when a Supreme Court judge ordered its ousted president reinstated.
The preliminary ruling suspended a lower-court decision and restored the job to Ednaldo Rodrigues, the first black president in the history of the CBF, which has faced a maelstrom of controversy over the legal squabble, the national team’s poor performance and a failed bid to sign Real Madrid boss Carlo Ancelotti as coach.
“I hereby suspend the effects of the ruling by the Rio de Janeiro Court of Justice… and order the immediate reinstatement to their positions of the leadership elected by the CBF general assembly of March 23, 2022,” judge Gilmar Mendes wrote.
His ruling must now go before the full 11-member Supreme Court.
The lower court’s December ruling had thrown out a 2022 deal between the CBF and Rio prosecutors that had paved the way for Rodrigues’s election to lead the body until 2026.
It ruled prosecutors and the CBF had overstepped their authority in making the deal.
The case dates back to 2017, when the CBF changed its election rules without consulting representatives of Brazil’s top-flight clubs, whose voting power was weakened.
The winner of the ensuing presidential election, Rogerio Caboclo, was sacked from the job in 2021 over sexual harassment accusations — later thrown out by a judge.
Rodrigues was named his interim replacement.
A Rio court meanwhile annulled Caboclo’s election because of the rule change, and Rodrigues won the substitute vote — the subject of the current dispute.
FIFA and the South American Football Confederation (CONMEBOL) had warned the CBF in a series of letters that Brazil could be barred from international competitions if it was shown to be allowing external interference in its internal affairs, according to Brazilian media reports.
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