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Chilean soccer association president takes medical leave

November 13, 2015

SANTIAGO, Chile (AP) — The president of the Chilean soccer association is taking a 30-day medical leave, a decision that was announced shortly before the country’s investigative police said authorities wanted to question him and other federation bosses.

The Chilean federation announced the medical leave on its website late Thursday, hours after Sergio Jadue returned from a trip to Brazil and denied he had traveled there to collaborate with U.S. authorities in their investigation of corruption in world soccer.

Chile’s investigations police, its equivalent of the FBI, then said some of its members visited the headquarters of the Chilean federation on Friday morning to notify four soccer bosses that they are wanted for questioning as part of an investigation. The federation later confirmed on its site that Jadue is one of them.

Upon landing at Santiago’s airport on Thursday, Jadue told reporters that he had no reason to reign, calling information about his whereabouts and his cooperation with U.S. authorities, “all part of a typical intrigue.”

“I traveled. I was there (in Brazil) for two nights and there was no reason for me to provide any information on it because it’s a private issue, and it has nothing to do with the ANFP, which is concerned with soccer.”

The federation said its vice president, Jaime Baeza, will be in charge while Jadue is away.

Jadue’s leave comes four days after the head of Colombia’s soccer federation, Luis Bedoya, resigned citing personal reasons. Both have been vice presidents of the embattled South American Football confederation, CONMEBOL, but they were not among the soccer executives named in a U.S. Department of Justice probe in May.

Just hours after the FIFA scandal broke, Jadue, declared his innocence even though he was not formally accused of anything in the U.S.Justice Department indictments that, without specifying them by name, said most presidents of the 10 South American federations would receive $1.5 million in bribes from marketing agency Datisa in exchange for each upcoming Copa America tournament.

Colombian prosecutors have said they are investigating financial transactions by Bedoya and have requested information from U.S. authorities.

The U.S. Justice Department has indicted 14 soccer officials and businessmen on charges of bribery, racketeering, and money laundering. Among them are two former CONMEBOL presidents, who are fighting extradition to the U.S.

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Luis Andres Henao on Twitter: https://twitter.com/LuisAndresHenao