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Football's 'bounty hunter' takes on FIFA on Facebook

By John Sinnott, CNN
updated 11:33 AM EST, Tue January 15, 2013
FIFA punished Brazilian agent Paulo Teixeira after complaints from AC Milan and Anderlecht.
FIFA punished Brazilian agent Paulo Teixeira after complaints from AC Milan and Anderlecht.
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Football agent Paulo Teixeira takes to Facebook to question workings of FIFA justice system
  • Brazilian Teixeira handed a two-month suspension and a $8,600 fine by FIFA
  • Advocacy group changeFIFA says Teixeira case raises important questions for football's world governing body

(CNN) -- A leading football agent fined by FIFA for using social media has taken to Facebook to question the fairness of soccer's global governing body.

In December Brazilian agent Paulo Teixeira was handed a two-month suspension and a $8,600 fine by FIFA for breaching its code of professional conduct as well as its disciplinary code for a number of Facebook postings.

Teixeira has used his Training Compensation page on the website to expose what he says is the unequal relationship between Europe's leading clubs and smaller clubs in South America and Africa in the way teams from developing countries are compensated for discovering and training young talented players.

Unbowed by FIFA's sanction, Teixeira returned to Facebook on Monday to ask why the disciplinary committee that had handled his case -- involving 215 pages in total of evidence and the decision itself, 80% in French -- had comprised four officials, only one of whom speaks French.

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"And in came the judges -- four. A Swiss, an Irish, a Venezuelan and a Chinese. It took a full month to write the 31-pages long decision, again in French. At the end of the day, I had been suspended for two months and fined," Teixeira posted on Facebook.

"How could football executives of this caliber -- bosses of their respective associations -- have reached such a decision without having full knowledge of the contents of the case?

"Or was is presented to them in the universaI language ... Esperanto?"

In a statement to CNN, FIFA insisted: "The members of the FIFA Disciplinary Committee were aware, took note and understood all the elements of the case, which were available and presented to them in a language they understand, in order to be in a position to take the decision."

Read: Using Facebook to bounty-hunt football's disappeared

Teixeira, who once represented former Brazil international Roberto Carlos, has been using Facebook to discuss governance issues surrounding sport, but primarily football, after being inspired by the way social media was used by revolutionaries during the Arab Spring.

"European clubs are ready to pay millions on transfer fees, but when it comes to settling training compensation to African or South Americans clubs, it becomes a problem," said Teixeira.

"Clubs know that they will have to pay once the cases reach FIFA, but until then they buy time."

His disciplinary action came after two European powerhouses, Italy's AC Milan and Anderlecht of Belgium, complained that Teixeira had defamed them in Facebook postings when he claimed the clubs failed to pay the true cost of training a player to the development team, based on FIFA's formula.

However, advocacy group changeFIFA, which seeks greater transparency within the ruling body, suggested the Teixeira case raised important questions.

"Given the serious allegations of Teixeira, it's odd that FIFA would target the person making the allegations of impropriety and not address the alleged impropriety itself," a changeFIFA spokesman told CNN.

"Any sincere search for truth by the FIFA Disciplinary Committee should involve investigating the allegations themselves and not silencing the person making them."

Teixeira is football's equivalent of a bounty hunter, taking a hefty commission from the teams he represents in cases he takes before FIFA to claim training compensation from larger clubs.

He has extensively detailed his disputes with a number of those European clubs on Facebook, and when Teixeira was suspended in December, FIFA released a statement saying "this was the first time a member of the football family has been suspended/fined for using social media."

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