Soccer-CBF chief Caboclo vows to prove his innocence after investigation

·2-min read
FILE PHOTO: Soccer - Conmebol Summit for Copa Libertadores - Lima new venue for the Final

RIO DE JANEIRO (Reuters) - Brazilian Football Confederation (CBF) president Rogerio Caboclo vowed to clear his name at an ethics committee investigation on Monday as fears receded of a player boycott of the Copa America.

Caboclo was suspended for 30 days on Sunday after Brazilian news sites ran reports alleging that he sexually abused a female employee. The CBF said its ethics committee was investigating his conduct but did not specify why.

Caboclo was asked about the allegations by ESPN Brasil on Monday.

"I can’t say anything about (the allegations) because it will all be dealt with by my defence," he said in an interview. "I am innocent. I am absolutely certain that I am going to prove it. And there is no doubt that I will return (as head of the CBF)."

Caboclo also denied reports the Brazil players had discussed boycotting the Copa America which starts on Sunday and said stories he considered sacking coach Tite were false.

The Brazilian players told sources they were going to play in the tournament as planned and would make an official declaration on Tuesday, after their World Cup qualifying match against Paraguay.

"They want to make an announcement about the need for the competition at a time like this," a source close to the players told Reuters.

The Copa America begins on June 13 and ends with the final on July 10 in Rio de Janeiro.

Brazil was chosen to host the tournament involving 10 South American teams last week, barely two weeks before it was due to kick off.

The surprise choice came after Colombia was removed as a host because of civil unrest in the country and co-host Argentina pulled out due to a COVID-19 surge.

(Reporting by Rodrigo Viga Gaier in Rio de Janeiro; writing by Andrew Downie, editing by Ed Osmond)

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