Brazil to probe FIFA over ‘crime of racism’

China Daily (Hong Kong) - - SPORTS - By REUTERS in Sao Paulo

Just four days be­fore the draw for the 2014 World Cup, FIFA faced yet another em­bar­rass­ment when a Sao Paulo prose­cu­tor opened an in­ves­ti­ga­tion into pos­si­ble racism by soc­cer’s world gov­ern­ing body.

A Sao Paulo state prose­cu­tor has asked FIFA and the com­pany it hired to or­ga­nize Fri­day’s draw to ex­plain why it chose two white-skinned ac­tors to present the tele­vised show in­stead of two black­skinned ac­tors.

Two Afro-Brazil­ians had been sug­gested as pos­si­ble hosts but were over­looked in fa­vor of light-skinned model Fer­nanda Lima and her white hus­band, Ro­drigo Hil­bert, a TV pre­sen­ter, news mag­a­zine Veja re­ported with­out say­ing how it ob­tained the in­for­ma­tion.

“I opened the in­ves­ti­ga­tion due to the sus­pi­cion of a crime of racism on the part of FIFA, or by the com­pany they se­lected to or­ga­nize the show, GEO Even­tos,” prose­cu­tor Chris­tiano Jorge San­tos said, adding, if the re­port is true, he will seek to open crim­i­nal pro­ceed­ings.

Lima and Hil­bert do not rep­re­sent the racial make-up in Brazil – a coun­try where half the peo­ple de­clare them­selves ei­ther black or dark­skinned – “and so the change was not jus­ti­fied,” San­tos said.

San­tos asked FIFA, GEO Even­tos, Veja and TV Globo, the broad­caster re­ported to have sug­gested the black cou­ple, well- known soap opera ac­tors Lazaro Ramos and Camila Pi­tanga, for more in­for­ma­tion about the choice.

The GEO Even­tos web­site was un­der main­te­nance and fur­ther ef­forts to reach spokes­peo­ple at the com­pany were un­suc­cess­ful.

In a state­ment sent to Reuters late on Mon­day, FIFA said it “never ve­toed any­one” and pointed out Pi­tanga her­self de­nied she was in­vited to host the event.

“The se­lec­tion of Fer­nanda Lima and Ro­drigo Hil­bert was mainly based on the pos­i­tive ex­pe­ri­ence made dur­ing the launch of the Of­fi­cial Em­blem and the Pre­lim­i­nary Draw,” the state­ment said.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from China

© PressReader. All rights reserved.