James Corrigan: England beware: Teixeira, Fifa's next president, makes Blatter look saintly

The Way I See It

Plainly, the poor old boy's not been getting much sleep. It's a good job Ricardo Teixeira has the use of a private jet and isn't forced to travel on certain low-cost airlines. He would be charged a fortune with all those bags under his eyes.

But then, the president of the Confederação Brasileira de Futebol has always carried plenty of baggage so perhaps we should recognise those heavy lids as a mere physical characteristic rather than as any manifestation of stress. Accused by Panorama of taking bribes, accused by Lord Triesman of wanting a bribe, accused by many others of both and more; Teixeira is well used to being splattered by the brown stuff and then cultivating it to produce the sweetest-smelling of roses.

And now he intends to embark on the most audacious horticultural work known to football, on the most treasured pitches known to football. Through all the muck and the grime of Brazil 2014 he will bloom as the hero. Then he will take over Fifa. Bravo, Ricardo!

It's a plan he hatched with Joao Havelange, the visionary who made Fifa exactly the revered governing body it is today. It says so much about Teixeira's cunning and scheming abilities that he has maintained the patronage of this footballing Don. After all, he divorced Havelange's daughter and remarried a female 30 years his junior, whom he started dating when she was 19. In Godfather II Teixeira would have ended up with a baseball bat round his bonce, but in Havelange II his cranium is being measured for the crown. "Ricardo wanted to run [for the Fifa presidency] now, but I told him, 'Put on a good World Cup, treat everyone well, and they'll vote for you out of gratitude'."

The 95-year-old, who retains his oily wash by swimming a mile each day, said the above to Daniela Pinheiro, a brilliant and, it must be said, extremely attractive journalist for Piaui, a culture magazine based in Rio. It was such a telling aside in an interview with Teixeira which stretched over many days and many pages. If you do want an insight into this most shameless of sporting administrators and a glimpse of football's immediate future simply type "Teixeira" and "Pinheiro" into Google. But be careful to put on your thermals first – it makes for a chilling read.

You might already have gleaned a flavour of the profile last week. It was here where he referred to the English as "pirates" and to our press, heaven forbid, as "corrupt". Fine insults, no doubt, but the killer quote arrived in the conclusion. "In 2014, I'll be able to get away with anything," said Teixeira. "The most slippery, unthinkable, Machiavellian things. Denying press credentials, barring access, changing game schedules. And you know what? Nothing will happen. You know why? Because in 2015 I'm out of here. It'll all be over."

The initial reaction to this boast is to laugh and compare him to those daft villains in the Bond movies who tell the superspy exactly how they are planning world domination while aiming a faulty circular saw at his nether regions. But we shouldn't, because Ricardo's serious and showed he was at the World Cup qualifying draw on Saturday night.

In Brazil, you can't commit anything more "unthinkable" than snubbing Pele. It's like St Peter not inviting God to midnight mass. That didn't stop Teixeira, who refused to give The Greatest a role after he panned him for his statements to Pinheiro. True, the Brazilian government stepped in and Pele ended up with his front row seat and a standing ovation. But Teixeira had made his point, "Criticise me and I will react – halo or no halo". It made me wonder as I, like everyone else, struggled through that draw which gave "interminable" a new time-frame: isn't Teixeira following his machia-vellian path already?

The old Italian philosopher, himself, would have made the perfect Fifa ExCo member and if he somehow convinced Fifa to allow him to totally compromise the position of Federation president by also heading the World Cup's organising committee he would have been acutely aware "how better it is to be feared than loved". Machiavelli would have seen the importance of emphasising who is boss and making everyone realise the success or failure of Brazil 2014 would be down to him. In a football-obsessed country beaming to a football-obsessed world, he would understand that failure is nigh-on impossible. It's the ultimate win-win situation.

Machiavelli would have seen all the protests outside that Gloria Marina area and smiled. The focus wasn't on the genuinely significant gripes of the draw costing $20m of public money, of 20,000 locals being removed from their homes in the "regeneration", of Fifa raping the country's tax laws to reap their traditional bounty; but on the trifle of Teixeira's dismissal. That isn't going to happen; Brazil 2014 is going to happen. And at the end of a month of intoxicating sights and sounds, of colour and music, there will only be one real winner.

Yes, Ricardo will be out of the Brazilian federation, but in terms of the world it certainly wouldn't be over. He would duly replace Sepp Blatter and very soon we would hark back to the comparatively clean Fifa era of the saintly Swiss. "I'm not interested in preserving the status quo; I want to overthrow it," said Machiavelli. It's all there for the man who hates England.

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
video
Life and Style
tech
Arts and Entertainment
Southern charm: Nicolas Cage and Tye Sheridan in ‘Joe’
filmReview: Actor delivers astonishing performance in low budget drama
Arts and Entertainment
While many films were released, few managed to match the success of James Bond blockbuster 'Skyfall'
film
Arts and Entertainment
Up my street: The residents of the elegant Moray Place in Edinburgh's Georgian New Town
tvBBC's The Secret History of Our Streets reveals a fascinating window into Britain's past
Extras
indybest
News
Albus Dumbledore, the headmaster of Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry has been the teaching profession's favourite teacher
education
Sport
Luis Suarez looks towards the crowd during the 2-1 victory over England
sport
Life and Style
Cheesecake frozen yoghurt by Constance and Mathilde Lorenzi
food + drinkThink outside the cool box for this summer’s frozen treats
News
John Barrowman kisses his male “bride” at a mock Gretna Green during the Commonwealth Games opening ceremony
peopleBarrowman's opening ceremony message to Commonwealth countries where he would be sent to prison for being gay
Sport
Sir Bradley Wiggins removes his silver medal after the podium ceremony for the men’s 4,000m team pursuit in Glasgow yesterday
Commonwealth games Disappointment for Sir Bradley in team pursuit final as England are forced to settle for silver
Sport
Alistair Brownlee (right) celebrates with his gold medal after winning the men’s triathlon alongside brother Jonny (left), who got silver
England's Jodie Stimpson won the women’s triathlon in the morning
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Day In a Page

Backhanders, bribery and abuses of power have soared in China as economy surges

Bribery and abuses of power soar in China

The bribery is fuelled by the surge in China's economy but the rules of corruption are subtle and unspoken, finds Evan Osnos, as he learns the dark arts from a master
Commonwealth Games 2014: Highland terriers stole the show at the opening ceremony

Highland terriers steal the show at opening ceremony

Gillian Orr explores why a dog loved by film stars and presidents is finally having its day
German art world rocked as artists use renowned fat sculpture to distil schnapps

Brewing the fat from artwork angers widow of sculptor

Part of Joseph Beuys' 1982 sculpture 'Fettecke' used to distil schnapps
BBC's The Secret History of Our Streets reveals a fascinating window into Britain's past

BBC takes viewers back down memory lane

The Secret History of Our Streets, which returns with three films looking at Scottish streets, is the inverse of Benefits Street - delivering warmth instead of cynicism
Joe, film review: Nicolas Cage delivers an astonishing performance in low budget drama

Nicolas Cage shines in low-budget drama Joe

Cage plays an ex-con in David Gordon Green's independent drama, which has been adapted from a novel by Larry Brown
How to make your own gourmet ice lollies, granitas, slushy cocktails and frozen yoghurt

Make your own ice lollies and frozen yoghurt

Think outside the cool box for this summer's tempting frozen treats
Ford Fiesta is UK's most popular car of all-time, with sales topping 4.1 million since 1976

Fiesta is UK's most popular car of all-time

Sales have topped 4.1 million since 1976. To celebrate this milestone, four Independent writers recall their Fiestas with pride
10 best reed diffusers

Heaven scent: 10 best reed diffusers

Keep your rooms smelling summery and fresh with one of these subtle but distinctive home fragrances that’ll last you months
Commonwealth Games 2014: Female boxers set to compete for first time

Female boxers set to compete at Commonwealth Games for first time

There’s no favourites and with no headguards anything could happen
Five things we’ve learned so far about Manchester United under Louis van Gaal

Five things we’ve learned so far about United under Van Gaal

It’s impossible to avoid the impression that the Dutch manager is playing to the gallery a little
Screwing your way to the top? Good for Lana Del Rey for helping kill that myth

Screwing your way to the top?

Good for Lana Del Rey for helping kill that myth, says Grace Dent
Will the young Britons fighting in Syria be allowed to return home and resume their lives?

Will Britons fighting in Syria be able to resume their lives?

Tony Blair's Terrorism Act 2006 has made it an offence to take part in military action abroad with a "political, ideological, religious or racial motive"
Beyoncé poses as Rosie the Riveter, the wartime poster girl who became a feminist pin-up

Beyoncé poses as Rosie the Riveter

The wartime poster girl became the ultimate American symbol of female empowerment
The quest to find the perfect pair of earphones: Are custom, 3D printed earbuds the solution?

The quest to find the perfect pair of earphones

Earphones don't fit properly, offer mediocre audio quality and can even be painful. So the quest to design the perfect pair is music to Seth Stevenson's ears
US Army's shooting star: Lt-Col Steven Cole is the man Hollywood calls when it wants to borrow a tank or check a military uniform

Meet the US Army's shooting star

Lt-Col Steven Cole is the man Hollywood calls when it wants to borrow a tank or check a military uniform