Brazil football chief Del Nero explains Zurich exit, denies wrongdoing

The president of the Brazilian football confederation says he left before FIFA's elections in Switzerland because of the turmoil created at home by the corruption investigation unveiled this week.

CBF president Marco Polo Del Nero, who was not indicted in the U.S. Department of Justice's corruption case Wednesday, says he returned to Brazil before Friday's vote to give "any necessary explanations" to local authorities investigating the confederation.

"It's a difficult moment for CBF. A time that involves a former president and a current vice president. Faced with this difficult time, I decided to return from Switzerland to Rio de Janeiro so that I can set things right, to give any necessary explanations not only to the authorities, but the Brazilian press," he told gathered Brazilian media on Friday.

Brazilian football deeply involved in the FIFA scandal, and former confederation president Jose Maria Marin was one of the officials arrested in Zurich this week.

Del Nero, who was one of Marin's vice presidents, said he was "sad" to see his "friend" arrested, but denied knowing anything about the accusations involving the former president.

Del Nero also denied any wrongdoing in his administration, which began in April, and dismissed any possibility of resigning during this uncertain time.

"I have nothing to do with this. I am not [a co-conspirator]. I didn't receive money, and will not receive," Del Nero said.

Del Nero left Zurich on the eve of the governing body's presidential election to return home to Brazil.

FIFA spokeswoman Delia Fischer confirmed on Thursday that he had left Switzerland to fly home to Brazil. As an executive committee member, Del Nero had been set to attend Friday's FIFA Congress and oversee Brazil's vote in the election between incumbent Sepp Blatter and challenger Prince Ali of Jordan, which saw the former re-elected to a fifth term.

Fischer could not provide a reason for Del Nero's departure at the time, however.

The U.S. Department of Justice's indictment of 15 current and former FIFA chiefs as well as sports marketing executives Wednesday has sparked loud calls for change in Brazil since being made public.

Most vocal of those shouts have come from 1994 World Cup winner-turned-federal-senator Romario, who has been a longtime, vocal critic of Brazilian football's governing body.

At his behest, the Brazilian Senate on Thursday moved to approve a request for the creation of a congressional panel to investigate corruption in the sport.

Also on Thursday, justice minister Jose Eduardo Cardozo asked federal police to see if the U.S. probe into FIFA could help identify crimes that may have been committed by Brazilian sport officials and businessmen.

In Rio de Janeiro, the Brazilian confederation ordered the removal of Marin's name from its lavish headquarters.

Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.