A Sao Paulo state prosecutor has opened an investigation into FIFA and GEO Eventos, the company it hired to produce Friday's World Cup draw, for possible racism in the hiring of the event's hosts.
Two Afro-Brazilians had been suggested as possible hosts but were overlooked in favor of light-skinned model Fernanda Lima and her white husband Rodrigo Hilbert, a TV presenter, news magazine Veja reported without saying how it obtained the information.
"I opened the investigation due to the suspicion of a crime of racism on the part of FIFA, or by the company they selected to organize the show, GEO Eventos," prosecutor Christiano Jorge Santos told Reuters, adding that, if the report is true, he will seek to open criminal proceedings.
Lima and Hilbert do not represent the racial make-up in Brazil - a country where half the people declare themselves either black or dark-skinned - "and so the change was not justified," Santos added.
FIFA denied vetoing anyone in a statement to Reuters, but taking FIFA at its word is akin to trusting a tobacco company on the effects of smoking. At the same time, it's unclear if these claims have any basis. Going against FIFA isn't exactly the most unpopular thing to do in Brazil at the moment, with millions of citizens protesting the World Cup as a waste of public money and a tool for government corruption.
In 2011, FIFA president Sepp Blatter made one of his many controversial and idiotic statements when he said that there is "no racism" in football. FIFA's official website then used a picture of Blatter with African politician Tokyo Sexwale to accompany his attempt to clarify his baffling opinion.
Following a World Cup stadium construction accident that killed two workers last week and the damning reports of labor abuses in the construction of Qatar's 2022 World Cup venues, it seems FIFA can't even put on a show of picking names out of a pot without demonstrating an inability to prove the values they claim to uphold.
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