Sao Paulo, Nov 27: Retired Brazil striker Ronaldo said Sunday he hasn't received an invitation to replace Ricardo Teixeira as the head of the country's 2014 World Cup organizing committee.
Teixeira, president of the Brazilian football federation, has recently been making changes to how the sport is governed and a Brazilian newspaper said he would leave the presidency of the organizing committee to make way for Ronaldo.
“I don't know anything about that, there hasn't been anything,” Ronaldo said as he arrived to watch the F1 Brazilian Grand Prix. “I'm surprised by all this speculation.”
Teixeira on Friday named Corinthians President Andres Sanchez as the No. 2 man in Brazilian football, giving up the responsibility for the country's national teams in all age categories.
Teixeira told the O Globo newspaper, the daily that reported Ronaldo was invited to head the organizing committee, that it had been “too much work” for him to handle all the national teams.
Teixeira is seen as a possible successor to FIFA President Sepp Blatter and the recent changes are widely seen as a move to open the way for his candidacy.
But the changes also could be a way to remove Teixeira from the spotlight as he continues to be investigated for irregularities in Brazil and abroad.
Teixeira is allegedly one of the members of FIFA's executive committee linked to an investigation of kickbacks at ISL, the marketing agency that owned World Cup television rights until its 2001 bankruptcy with debts of around $300 million.
British broadcaster BBC has named the officials as Teixeira and his former father-in-law Joao Havelange, the longtime FIFA president who Blatter succeeded in 1998.
The Brazilians have denied any wrongdoing.
Blatter recently said he expected at least one FIFA member to leave his post when the governing body publishes Swiss court papers identifying the senior officials who allegedly took payments from the marketing partner in the 1990s.
Blatter, who has said he's committed to wide-ranging anti-corruption reforms, said he will publish the ISL dossier on Dec. 17 after his executive committee meets in Tokyo. An undisclosed outside body will later advise FIFA's high command on what action to take if it finds members guilty of wrongdoing.
The timing of the announcement that Corinthians president Sanchez will head the Brazilian national teams was harshly criticized in Brazil because the club is in the hunt for the Brazilian league title. It leads the competition with only two rounds left, and many said that the president's connection with the federation could cast doubt on a potential Corinthians title. Sanchez will be in charge of hiring the coaches for all the teams, including the women's squad.
Teixeira, considered one of the most powerful men in Brazilian football, also has been investigated by local authorities for allegedly illegally transferring money into Brazil at the time of the alleged ISL kickbacks.
The Brazilian Congress has twice investigated Teixeira for alleged wrongdoings, but the inquiries were never completed. Former star Romario, now a congressman, has been one of Teixeira's critics.
He has also been accused of unethical behavior by the former chairman of England's Football Association, David Triesman, who said during a British parliamentary inquiry that Teixeira and other FIFA executive committee members engaged in improper conduct during bidding for the 2018 World Cup. FIFA cleared Teixeira of the accusations.
Before FIFA's draw for the World Cup qualifiers in July, Teixeira called the English media corrupt and refused to talk to British journalists.