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Big Day, But No Pel�
Americans can't be expected to understand why Sunday's celebrity-supersaturated World Cup draw in Las Vegas attracted 500 million TV viewers worldwide. But from abject ignorance good questions sometimes spring, and one such query is this: How come Pel�, the Babe Ruth of world football and the lone deity the soccer-impaired U.S. has always held sacred, wasn't involved in kicking off an event whose avowed purpose is to flog the game to heathen Yanks?
The answer is at once simple and saddening. It turns out that a TV station with which Pel� is affiliated recently lost a bid for a contract with the Brazilian Soccer Confederation (CBF). The CBF's president is Ricardo Teixeira, who happens to be the son-in-law of Jo�o Havelange, the cadaverous president of FIFA, the sport's international governing body. Pel� alleged that Teixeira had asked for a kickback; Teixeira responded with a defamation suit, which is still unresolved. "In 35 years I have only wanted to help Brazil," Pel� said on Sunday morning. "Always I am going to light against the corruption." Asked why Pel� wasn't one of the soccer stars, past and present, involved in the draw, FIFA spokesman Guido Tognoni said his organization "will respect the wishes of its president."
It's a shame: As soccer launched its showcase event, it hardly needed Faye Dunaway picking balls out of a bowl and Barry Manilow crooning (or lip-synching) more than it needed its alltime greatest practitioner.
Jan. 1, 1994
Staff writer Austin Murphy gazes into his college football crystal ball and sees these New Year's Day bowl results.
Hall of Fame: Kickoff is at 11 a.m., so curfew will be an issue. Michigan tailback Tyrone Wheatley is healthy, and North Carolina State (7-4) has beaten only one ranked team. Wolverines, 35-21—if everyone makes bed check.
Carquest: After a month of head-knocking under martinet coach Tom Coughlin—punishment for handing a win to West Virginia on Nov. 26—Boston College can't wait to clobber overmatched Virginia. BC, 42-21.