Brazil chief Teixeira takes medical leave

The president of Brazil's football confederation (CBF) and head of the country's 2014 World Cup organising committee Ricardo Teixeira has taken a medical leave of absence, Brazilian state football chiefs said on Thursday.

Teixeira, who did not specify how long he would be absent, has been head of the CBF for more than two decades but is the subject of repeated corruption allegations.

He is reported to be suffering from diverticulitis, a painful inflammation of the bowel lining.

"Ricardo sent a letter to the federation presidents informing them of his leave for medical reasons, but he did not say for how long," Delfim Peixoto, president of the football federation in the southern state of Santa Catarina, told Reuters.

Teixeira, 64, will temporarily be replaced by Jose Maria Marin, according to the confederation's statutes.

Officials at the Rio de Janeiro-based confederation would not confirm the news.

Teixeira has run the CBF since 1989 and turned it into a highly profitable commercial enterprise. Brazil had not won the World Cup for 19 years when he took over but they have lifted two trophies in the years since.

However, he has faced repeated allegations of graft and corruption.

In 2001, an investigation by Brazil's Congress accused him of 13 crimes ranging from tax evasion to money laundering to misleading lawmakers, although no charges were ever brought.

Last year, David Triesman, the former head of the English Football Association, said Teixeira offered him money in exchange for Brazil's backing of England to host the 2018 World Cup, a tournament that was eventually awarded to Russia.

In February, the Folha de S. Paulo newspaper said a company linked to him overcharged the organisers of a November 2008 friendly match between Brazil and Portugal in the capital Brasilia.

Teixeira had turned much of the organizing committee's public work over to Ronaldo, the former Real Madrid, Inter Milan and Barcelona striker whom he appointed to the 2014 World Cup organizing committee's management board on December 1.

The move by Teixeira came on the same day Brazil's sports minister attempted to defuse a simmering dispute between Brazil and world football's governing body by accepting a FIFA apology for criticism of preparations to host the 2014 World Cup finals.

Sports Minister Aldo Rebelo had declared he would no longer work with FIFA secretary general Jerome Valcke after he said Brazilian organizers needed "a kick up the backside."

Valcke and FIFA President Sepp Blatter both apologised for the spat and Rebelo sent letters to them accepting their apologies.

Rebelo also agreed to Blatter's request for an emergency meeting with President Dilma Rousseff to discuss World Cup planning.