Scandal won't affect championship: CBF

<img border='0' align='left' title=' ' src=' ' class='caption'> The national soccer championship won't stop despite a scandal involving charges that a top referee took bribes to favor certain clubs.

updated: February 25, 2007 10:49 IST
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Rio de Janeiro:

The national soccer championship won't stop despite a scandal involving charges that a top referee took bribes to favor certain clubs, Brazil's top soccer official said. Brazilian Soccer Confederation (CBF) President Ricardo Teixeira said referee Edilson Pereira de Carvalho had been suspended, and CBF was investigating whether he tampered with results in league games. But the tournament will proceed as scheduled, he said. "The Brazilian championship won't be paralyzed," Teixeira said in a statement on the CBF web site. Full probe He pledged a full investigation by a panel that would include members of the federal prosecutor's office. "The commission will get to the bottom of these accusations, so that no doubt remains, including about the conduct of the other referees," Teixeira said. The revelations come less than a month before the trial of Robert Hoyzer in Germany, whose admission in January that he was bribed to assure the outcomes of games led to the European country's biggest match-rigging scandal in 30 years. Corruption scandal Carvalho was arrested on Saturday, a day after the newsweekly Veja reported on a federal investigation into a corruption scheme run by internet betting sites. He was allegedly paid to "guarantee" certain results. Veja published transcripts of telephone conversations recorded by government investigators between Carvalho and businessman Nagib Fayad. Carvalho guaranteed that Vasco would beat Figuerirense in a league match he was assigned to referee on August 7. Vasco won 2-1, including a penalty kick by Romario. Fayad also was arrested. Veja said Carvalho was paid 10,000 reals ($4,400) per match, and, in published transcripts, he argues with Fayad for more money because of the "mistakes" Carvalho deliberately made in a game that could prompt the CBF to not assign him to games for a few rounds. Changing statement Carvalho told TV news reporters that Fayad and others had threatened his wife and daughter to force him to cooperate. But local media said on Monday he had retracted the claim and promised to cooperate fully with police in exchange for a reduced sentence. Carvalho is charged with fraud and criminal association. The Superior Tribunal of Sports Justice is to decide if the results of eight matches Carvalho refereed remain valid. "They will be investigated and, if they are contaminated, there's a good chance they could be annulled," Tribunal president Luiz Zveiter said in a news conference on Sunday. Referees lamented that the scandal had sullied their reputation. "We're in mourning," referee Wagner Tardelli said Monday. "Things like this tarnish our image." Palmeiras coach Emerson Leao, a former all-star goalkeeper, said the scandal was rare but not unexpected. (AP)