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Man in custody leads Czech FA after failed vote

Prague (AFP) – Despite being in custody on embezzlement charges, Miroslav Pelta has retained the helm of the Czech Football Federation (FACR) following a failed attempt to replace him on Friday.

At a general meeting broadcast on the FACR website, the delegates refused to give priority to one of three candidates, leaving Pelta in charge until the next general meeting which must take place this year.

“I can only say this is not good for Czech football,” Martin Malik, one of the candidates, told reporters after the three-round vote.

“The signal football has sent out today is not positive for commercial partners or the UEFA,” he added.

Pelta, 52, was arrested and charged in connection with the embezzlement of public money in early May, following a police swoop on FACR headquarters, the top-flight club FK Jablonec owned by Pelta, and the ministry of education, youth and sports.

Two civil servants including a deputy education minister were also nabbed. 

Prosecuted for abuse of power, Pelta withdrew his candidacy ahead of the general meeting.

The scandal has led the online insurance server to quit as the top flight’s main sponsor while other sponsors have said they were contemplating leaving the sport too.

Education Minister Katerina Valachova has tendered her resignation over her ministry’s role in the affair, and she also halted sport subsidies temporarily in May.

Around 372 million euros ($408m) is attributed annually by the Czech government for sport with 19.6 million euros given to football.

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