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Saturday, 24 October, 2020

The minister who arbitrates and plays in the Venezuelan football: Pedro Infante.

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A month after Rafael Dudamel left his position as technical director from the Vinotinto-the nickname of Venezuelan national football team- the National Sports Institute announced that Portuguese technician, Jose Pesseiro, would be the new frontman in the national team.

And that was unusual. The responsibility of making this announcement is the Venezuelan Football Federation -or FVF by its acronym in Spanish- which made the statement one day later.

Despite the National Sports Institute -IND in Spanish- should have no incidence in FVF decisions, both institutes have something in common: Pedro Infante, minister of Youth and Sport, who also is the president of IND, and the vice-president of Venezuelan Football Federation.

This multiple positions of Pedro Infante is a violation of FIFA statutes where it is made clear that positions in their member federations must be independent of any political interference to avoid conflicts.

The IND is an office from the Youth and Sports Ministry, and its website says that it is responsible for watching, executing, and supervising the policies of sports in Venezuela.

Pedro Infante became the second vice-president in the same board of Laureano Gonzalez, the right hand of Rafael Esquivel, former president of FVF, a man accused by FIFA of bribes, fraud, and money laundering on 2015. Esquivel declared himself guilty and now is in house arrest.

Multiple positions

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In his 38 years, Pedro Infante is not new in the national sport. According to the research website Poderopedia, he has a degree in Physical Education and a master’s degree in Sports Science Management, obtained in Cuba.

According to Poderopedia, he began to handle relevant positions since 2008 with Hugo Chavez when he was head of the Massification and Sports development Plan, a program to improve the sport and recreation as a social tool. In 2019 was part of the board in the Youth National Institute. And later, in 2014, he was vice-minister of Physical Activity.

Pedro Infante gained strength in the Chavism in 2015, when he joined to the Nicolas Maduro’s executive cabinet. Everything began when in 2014, the ministries of Sports and Youth unite in one ministry. Infante was the minister twice. First, in 2015, and later in 2017, when he took the reins of Sports and Youth Ministry.

Leaders, sports lawyers, and journalists agree that simultaneous positions of Pedro Infante end up affecting the FFV’s decisions, such as the dismissal of Kenneth Zseremeta, the former technician from the female Vinotiton sub-17, who complaint of malnutrition in the players or the choice of the new national technician.

Infante is judge and juror. He occupies three positions in the national sports board, two of them as a government official and one as a sports leader.

This is a research of Daniel Benitez from El Pitazo.

You can read the full report in Spanish by clicking here.

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