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Pele says game must be protected

Pele

Pele

Pele said Thursday amid the FIFA corruption scandal that football had to be protected.

“It is our responsibility to protect this beautiful game for our future generations,” the Brazilian legend said a tweet.

He posted it after returning from Cuba, where he had traveled with his former team the New York Cosmos for a historic friendly against the Cuban national team. The American side won, 4-1.

“We must treat each other with honesty, respect, and good sportsmanship on and off the field,” he wrote. “I say this not just for the players like myself, but for everyone involved in the sport.”

Pele had originally supported the re-election of FIFA president Sepp Blatter.

After Blatter announced his resignation Tuesday, Pele said he hoped “honest people” would take over at FIFA and undertake the task of cleaning up world football.

In an interview with the BBC in Cuba, Pele said this is an important juncture for FIFA, as world football’s governing body needs to change and move forward.

“FIFA needs honest people,” he said.

In the scandal rocking FIFA, the United States has indicted 14 current or former FIFA officials and sports executives and charged them over an alleged $150 million dollar bribery scheme stretching back two decades.

One of those indicted is the former vice president of the Brazilian Football Confederation, Jose Maria Marin.

“I want to see football put people together, stop the war,” Pele said in Havana. “What happened with the corruption, this is not my problem.”

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