By Andrew Downie
RIO DE JANEIRO (Reuters) - Leaders of Brazil's sporting confederations, many of whom have been in power for decades, will have their time in office restricted under new legislation enacted on Tuesday.
Brazil's Senate voted to ratify a bill that limits presidents of sporting confederations who receive public funding to a maximum of two terms in office.
The bill also obliges the federations to publish their annual accounts and include athletes in the decision-making process, amongst other conditions.
Although the bill must be signed into law by President Dilma Rousseff, that is expected to be a formality and some of Brazil's best-known sports figures were jubilant at the law's passage.
Three-times French Open tennis champion Gustavo Kuerten, 1994 soccer World Cup winners Rai and Mauro Silva as well as Popo, a former world champion boxer who is now a deputy, were all in the Senate to back the legislation.
"Sport should be an example of modernity, transparency and professionalism," said Rai.
"The approval of this law is vital if we are to come up with public policies for sport."
The change comes amid increasing concerns about Brazil's preparations to host the 2014 soccer World Cup and 2016 Olympics.
Many of the public transport projects supposed to be in place for the World Cup will not be ready in time and the International Olympic Committee recently warned Rio de Janeiro that it was dangerously behind schedule in preparations for the 2016 Games.
The former head of the Brazilian Football Confederation, Ricardo Teixeira, was in power for two decades before resigning last year amid widespread allegation of wrongdoing and Carlos Nuzman, the man organizing the 2016 Olympics, has been in power since 1995.
Although Nuzman and other long-lasting leaders contend they are elected legitimately in open elections, critics say they use their budgets and influence to remain in power.
(Editing by Nick Mulvenney)