FIFA got its way in Brazil (CBF). GETTY IMAGES

FIFA has achieved its goal in Brazil by imposing its rules over national law and reinstating the president of the Brazilian Football Confederation (CBF), Ednaldo Rodrigues. In doing so, it has maintained the status quo and allowed football to continue as usual.

On 7 December, the Rio de Janeiro Court of Justice dismissed the president of the CBF and annulled the elections that had made him president in 2022. It then appointed José Perdiz, the president of the Superior Court of Sports Justice, to intervene in the organisation's affairs.

The decision was the result of an investigation into the legality of the agreement signed between the CBF and the Rio Public Ministry in March 2022. This agreement allowed Rodrigues to move from interim to official president for four years, circumventing the fact that he did not have the authority to sign it and benefiting from the irregularity of his own election.

FIFA and CONMEBOL then warned the CBF that they did not recognise the appointed interim president, Mr. José Perdiz, and strongly threatened to ban the 'Canarinha' from international competitions. This included the Sub-23 Pre-Olympics scheduled to take place in Venezuela at the end of the month, as well as the Olympic Games if they qualify, unless what FIFA considered unacceptable - the interference of the ordinary judiciary in the affairs of the confederation - was resolved.

Ednaldo Rodrigues, reinstated president of the CBF. GETTY IMAGES
Ednaldo Rodrigues, reinstated president of the CBF. GETTY IMAGES

Faced with this turbulent scenario and the excessive threats from FIFA, which believes it has authority over the sovereignty and common law of countries, last Thursday, the Supreme Federal Court (STF) ordered Rodrigues' reinstatement last Thursday. Clearly, the pressure and political cost of losing the "opium of the modern people" prevailed over the law. 

In this way, FIFA got its way and managed to impose its criteria and twist previous judicial decisions. FIFA's unchecked power, its pressure and its lobbying capabilities are greater than any other organisation in the world, because the political cost of being excluded from the competition that captivates almost 215 million Brazilians is so high - and it has paid off, at least in terms of keeping the business going. 

"We are pleased and relieved by the decision of the Supreme Federal Court (STF) to reinstate president Ednaldo (Rodrigues)," said FIFA's legal representative Emilio García after an initial meeting at the Brazilian association's headquarters in Rio de Janeiro. 

"We are here to guarantee the autonomy of the CBF and the respect for the rules (...) We will continue to work to ensure that the presidency of Ednaldo, who was elected by Brazilian football, is respected," added FIFA's legal representative, who announced that he would be holding several meetings with members of the CBF.

Former Brazil coach Fernando Diniz and CBF president Ednaldo Rodrigues. GETTY IMAGES
Former Brazil coach Fernando Diniz and CBF president Ednaldo Rodrigues. GETTY IMAGES

Speaking alongside FIFA's representative in Rio de Janeiro, Rodrigues said that the highest court was "very important for Brazilian football, which is the real winner, not its president. When football is assured that its autonomy has been restored, and that its clubs can take part in the international competitions for which they have qualified, as well as the national teams, this is the restoration of Brazilian football," said the official, who was born in Bahia on 27 January 1954.

Once reinstated and with the authority granted by FIFA and the Brazilian court, Rodrigues took action against the head coach of the national team that has won the most world titles (five) but hasn't lifted a trophy since 2002, with Ronaldo, Ronaldinho, Roberto Carlos, Cafu and Rivaldo among the stars who shone at Korea-Japan.

Ednaldo Rodrigues sacked coach Fernando Diniz in a swift and decisive move after the Seleção's recent poor run of results - two victories over Bolivia (5-1) and Peru (0-1), a home draw against Venezuela (1-1), and three successive defeats to Uruguay (2-0), Colombia (2-1) and Argentina (0-1). Diniz's dismissal was followed by the appointment of Sao Paulo coach Dorival Júnior, whose recent successes include the 2022 Copa Libertadores with Flamengo. He will leave his current post to take charge of the 'verdeamarelha'.