SAO PAULO (AP) — The Brazilian football federation elected a new president on Wednesday, although little is changing at the helm of the organization.
Jose Maria Marin will be replaced in 2015 by vice president and sole candidate Marco Polo Del Nero, the head of the Sao Paulo federation and one of his closest supporters.
"There won't be many changes," Del Nero said after the election.
The 81-year-old Marin will remain as one of the vice presidents and will keep his post ahead of the local World Cup organizing committee. Brazil will host its first World Cup since 1950 in less than two months.
"I'm happy with this continuity, it shows unity in such an important and difficult year for Brazilian football," Marin said. "We are showing harmony and unity behind Brazil."
Both Marin and Del Nero were close to Ricardo Teixeira, the embattled chief who ruled the entity since 1989 before resigning two years ago under a cloud of allegations of corruption and irregularities in his administration.
"Ricardo had a way of managing the federation, Marin had his own way and I will have my way, which certainly will be similar to what is happening now," Del Nero said.
Teixeira resigned citing medical reasons and was never convicted of any wrongdoing in Brazil, but Swiss court documents later linked him to receiving kickbacks worth millions of dollars from World Cup broadcasting deals.
A member of FIFA's executive committee since 2012, the 73-year-old Del Nero will remain ahead of the federation, known locally as CBF, until 2019 at the least.
All 44 votes were in favor of Del Nero, whose candidacy was called "Administrative Continuity." The presidents of the 27 state federations and representatives of the 20 first-division teams in the Brazilian league were allowed to vote. Two federations and one of the clubs didn't vote.
"Del Nero will promote continuity to Marin's work and that's important for Brazilian football," said Para state federation president Antonio Nunes.
The election comes as CBF is in the middle of a series of legal disputes over this year's Brazilian league, which begins this weekend.
Rio de Janeiro club Fluminense was relegated last year, but later was allowed to return to the main division after a sports tribunal decision stripped points from Portuguesa for using a suspended player in the championship's final round. Portuguesa has filed suits in civil courts to try to reverse the sports tribunal decision and no final ruling has been made.
Second-division club Icasa won a similar ruling allowing it to play in the top flight because one of the promoted clubs, Figueirense, used a player whose registration hadn't been completely approved.
Icasa's president tried to vote in Wednesday's election but was not allowed.
CBF is fighting the clubs in civil courts and has warned that the suits could prompt punishment from FIFA.
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