By Lise Alves, Senior Contributing Reporter
SÃO PAULO, BRAZIL – Brazilian Volley Confederation (CBV) announced on Thursday, December 18th, that it would implement in ninety days all of the measures suggested by Brazil’s Comptroller’s General Office (CGU) in an attempt to lift the payment suspension announced by the league’s main sponsor Banco do Brasil.
“The CBV hopes that Banco do Brasil will re-establish the resources of the sponsorship so that the tournaments for the Beach Volleyball Open and the planning of the Brazilian national teams in all its categories are not hurt,” said CBV officials in a statement.
“The proximity of the Olympic Games for the first time in Brazil shows the importance of the maintenance of Banco do Brasil’s sponsorship,” concluded the note.
According to the confederation full compliance of the measures by the league will demonstrate that the new administration is committed to ‘responsible and transparent governance’.
Banco do Brasil suspended all sponsorship revenues to the confederation last week (December 11th) after a CGU investigation revealed that league officials misappropriated approximately R$30 million (US$11.2 million) in funds with irregular payments to suppliers under former CBV president, Ary Graça.
The government agency found misuse of funds in approximately thirty contracts between 2010 and 2013. Ary Graça resigned as head of the CBV earlier this year but remains president of the FIVB (Fédération Internationale de Volleyball), the sport’s world governing body.
In a press release, Banco do Brasil stated that it would ‘not endorse any illegal practices that would hurt the sport or the volleyball community and believes in the need of the CBV to adopt new management practices which will bring more control and transparency as to the use of the resources’. According to the state-controlled bank the sponsorship will only be re-established if the measures suggested are adopted.
Among the suggestions by the CGU are conducting external audits, vetoing sponsorships from companies under investigation for corruption and seeking refunds for contracts deemed as questionable by the Comptroller General’s Office.
The reaction of the players and coaches was swift. “We have dedicated our time, our sweat, our knees, shoulders, ankles to this person (Ary Graça), and unfortunately we were betrayed by him. Indignation and betrayal summarize our feelings,” said Murilo Endres, member of the Brazilian men’s national volleyball team in an interview with ESPN Brazil.
According to the note on CBV’s website on Thursday, coaches Jose Roberto Guimaraes (women’s national team) and Bernardo Rezende (men’s national team) have given unconditional support to the league’s current officials.
Volleyball is one of the most popular sports in Brazil, after football (soccer) and one of the biggest promises for gold medals in the 2016 Olympic Games. Both the women and men’s national teams have won several world and Olympic titles.
The men’s team is currently number one in the FIVB ranking while the women’s team is number two. A former volleyball player and one of its biggest stars, Carlos Nuzman, is now the head of the local organizing committee for the 2016 Rio de Janeiro Olympics.