Pele denies fight with Brazilian football boss
It's not true - I am ok with him: Pele insists there is no fight between him and Brazilian Football Confederation President and World Cup Organising Committee,Ricardo Teixeira. Here they are pictured after the Preliminary Draw of the 2014 FIFA World Cup on July 30, 2011 in Rio de Janeiro.
London, August 3, 2011 - Pele was late. This was nothing new such are the demands on his time and a handshake he never refuses.
Fears that he was suffering from a Teixeira-like paranoia about mixing with the English media proved ill-founded. Anyway, his flying visit to London was not a duty commensurate with his new, late-created role as an ambassador for Brazil's World Cup hosting in 2014. This one was to underline the revival of New York Cosmos with a lavish tome about the original club which lasted a mere 14 years before it crashed and burned into the ashes of the North American Soccer League.
Not that many of the assorted media and gate crashers would have been aware of that as they were regaled with spin that the recreated Cosmos represented "one of the world's most glamorous football franchises" (yes, that hated word) and "the world's coolest football club."
Of far greater interest was Pele's diplomatically ambassadorial 'take' on Brazil's tardy preparations for the 2014 finals and the Millwall-esque attitude** of Ricardo Teixeira, president of the Brazilian football confederation, president of the local World Cup organizing committee, former son-in-law of FIFA president Joao Havelange and himself a member of the much-derided FIFA executive committee.
Asked about the protests against Teixeira's status ahead of last weekend's World Cup draw, Pele said: "Everybody has their enemies; sometimes you don't even know who they are. It's the same with Teixeira. What we want most of all I to have excellent World Cup and that we are going to do.
"I think we can't worry about Teixeira and his problems with the media; after all, it's the same with Mr [Sepp] Blatter in FIFA . . . All I can say is that last week our President, Mrs Dilma, asked me to be on the committee and we are going to try to do our best to make a nice World Cup."
Pele insisted that though "a lot of papers say I have a fight with Teixeira, it's not true – I am OK with him." However, reverting to the World Cup hosting, he did concede "some worries" about whether Sao Paulo, because of a political impasse, could fund in time the construction of a stadium to host the Opening Match.
This was significant for Pele because, of course, he played all his mainstream career for Santos, flagship club of the port of Sao Paulo and thus, as he pointed out: "Sao Paulo is the capital of Brazilian football."
As for all the other cities, Pele assured his listeners: "No problem."
Then it was back to the reason for his presence in London, joining Cosmos' director of football Eric Cantona in a formal signing of the title page of The Official New York Cosmos Opus, published by Opus Media Group.
Cosmos are not the first club thus projected. The very first such tome was published in 2006 on the subject of . . . Manchester United, whom the new Cosmos play on Friday at Old Trafford in Paul Scholes's testimonial match.
** In the 1970s fans of the south London club Millwall chanted: "No-one likes us, we don't care!"