November 22, 2016

RIO DE JANEIRO (AP) The Brazilian soccer confederation has lost five major sponsors in the last 18 months as its president - and the previous two presidents - has been indicted on corruption charges.

The latest to bail out is Samsung, which joins Michelin and Gillette as major sponsors abandoning the CBF, whose president Marco Polo del Nero is wanted by U.S. prosecutors on racketeering, fraud and other charges.

The CBF confirmed Samsung's exit, but declined other comment. The CBF's website shows it has 10 sponsors remaining, including Nike, Chevrolet and MasterCard.

Reports in Brazil say Samsung may have to pay $20 million to get out of the deal. The South Korean company has been buffeted by recent financial losses related to its Galaxy Note 7 phone.

The shaving brand Gillette, owned by Proctor & Gamble, left 11 months ago and told the newspaper Folha de S.Paulo at the time that ''it is committed to sound ethics and seeks partners who correspond with our values.''

Erich Beting, the owner of Brazilian sports marketing company Maquina do Esporte, said Brazil's economic crisis is also playing a role in the exits. He said sponsors overpaid in the run-up to Brazil's 2014 World Cup.

''The amounts CBF was getting were very high, mainly because of the tournament being played here,'' Beting told The Associated Press. ''Brazil's economy crisis is making companies rethink their investments.''

The CBF's website shows income from sponsorships soared in the run-up to the 2014 World Cup.

Sponsorship income for 2012 was 235 million reals (now $70 million), and reached 359 million reals ($107 million) in 2014 - a 50 percent increase.

It fell to 339 million reals ($101 million) in 2015, the last year for which the CBF provided data.

Sponsorship income was expected to be much lower in 2016 as Brazil's faces its deepest recession in decades with inflation and unemployment each over 10 percent.

Reports of corruption at the CBF are decades-old, but came into focus when high-ranking soccer officials were arrested in Switzerland in May 2015 in raids at a five-star hotel. They included Jose Maria Marin, the former president of the CBF who was extradited to the United States and awaits trial on corruption charges.

Marin, who is out on a $15 million bond, is under house arrest in a luxury New York apartment. A trial date has been set for November 2017.

Marin's predecessor, Ricardo Teixeira, and current CBF president Del Nero, have both been indicted by U.S. officials but have not been extradited.

Brazil has an extradition treaty with the United States, but seldom extradites its own nationals. However, legal authorities in Brazil are reported to be cooperating with their American counterparts in pursuing Del Nero and Teixeira.

Del Nero is reported not to have traveled outside Brazil since he fled Zurich, Switzerland, in the wake of the FIFA raid, and seems unlikely to attend the 2018 World Cup in Russia, where Brazil will be a favorite.

Del Nero has acknowledged he earns about 200,000 reals monthly ($60,000), which the Sao Paulo lawyer has described as ''too little.''

The Sao Paulo newspaper Estadao also reported last year that members of the Brazilian national team have been selected by sponsors - rather than the coach - that want only the most ''marketable'' players picked.

The CBF denied the allegations.

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Stephen Wade on Twitter: http://twitter.com/StephenWadeAP . His work can be found at http://bigstory.ap.org/content/stephen-wade

Mauricio Savarese on Twitter: http://twitter.com/MSavarese . His work can be found at http://bigstory.ap.org/journalist/mauricio-savarese

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