Romario starts probe into Brazilian football body

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BRASILIA, Brazil (AP) -- A government investigation into alleged corruption at the Brazilian Football Confederation will begin next year after Brazil great Romario gathered enough signatures from among fellow legislators.

Romario, a frequent critic of the confederation, said on his internet site that in 24 hours he gathered signatures of 188 legislators in favor of forming a commission to investigate the CBF. Only 171 were needed to launch a probe.

The commission was expected to be in place next year, although a spokesman for Romario said there could be some delays.

Romario said the investigation should not be put off simply because Brazil was in the midst of organizing the 2014 World Cup.

In the document circulated by Romario, he suggests fraud may have taken place in the election of CBF President Jose Maria Marin. He succeeded Ricardo Teixeira, who resigned in March amid charges of wrongdoing.

Teixeira, who was also head of the World Cup organizing committee, and former FIFA president Joao Havelange were identified four months later by a Swiss court as having taken millions of dollars in payment from the now-defunct market agency ISL.

"We in the chamber (of deputies) will no longer allow this kind deceit of the people," Romario wrote.

Phone calls to the confederation by The Associated Press did not receive an immediate response.

FIFA has frequently criticized Brazil for being behind schedule in preparing for the World Cup. However, the world governing body took a softer tone last week.

FIFA General Secretary Jerome Valcke said it needed to be more flexible dealing with many layers of the Brazilian government, calling it the "FIFA Samba.'"