RIO DE JANEIRO (Reuters) -The president of the Brazilian Football Federation (CBF) has been removed from office for 30 days by the organization’s ethics committee, it said Sunday, just a week before Brazil hosts the Copa America.
According to Brazilian news reports, Rogerio Caboclo was accused of sexually harassing an employee.
The CBF gave few details.
“The decision is secret and the process is pending before the said committee with the aim of investigating the submitted complaint,” the CBF said in a short statement.
“Under the entity’s bylaws, Vice President Antonio Carlos Nunes de Lima will take over in the meantime.”
The decision to remove Caboclo comes just seven days before the Copa America kicks off in Brazil and amid unrest on and off the pitch ahead of a tournament slated to run from June 13 to July 10.
Brazil was unexpectedly chosen to host the 10-South American team tournament last week after Colombia was removed due to civil unrest and co-host Argentina withdrew following a spate of COVID-19 cases.
But the decision appeared to anger the Brazilian players and coach, and they promised to make a public statement on Tuesday about whether or not to play in the tournament.
The furor has rocked the football-mad nation amid reports that Caboclo was under investigation after being accused of sexual harassment by a female employee.
Globoesporte, the sports website that broke the news, said the 48-year-old had made sexual comments and insulted an unnamed female employee. The newspaper interviewed the employee and reported on her allegations.
The controversy is the latest in a long string of scandals at the powerful organization that runs football in the only country to have won the World Cup five times.
Caboclo’s three predecessors were all found guilty of bribery by FIFA’s ethics committee and banned from all football-related activities for life.
Caboclo went through his most difficult period since taking office in 2019 last week after coach Tite and his players confronted him about his decision to host the Copa, which was taken in conjunction with Brazil’s far-right President Jair Bolsonaro.
Tite said he and his players gave Caboclo “their very clear views” on the decision to host the tournament for the second time in two years, without fleshing out their objections.
The players said they will make a statement after playing in Tuesday’s World Cup qualifier against Paraguay.
Brazil defeated Ecuador 2-0 on Friday in the first of two World Cup qualifiers and will face Paraguay in Asunción on Tuesday.
The defending Copa America champions open the 2021 tournament against Venezuela in Brasilia on June 13.
(Reporting by Rodrigo Viga Gaier in Rio de Janeiro, written by Andrew Downie and Anthony Boadle Editing by Sonya Hepinstall)