Troubles are piling up for John Textor. The American businessman, president of Olympique Lyonnais, was sued for defamation by the president of the Brazilian Football Confederation (CBF), for his comments evoking “corruption” after a defeat by Botafogo, another club he owns.
A CBF source confirmed to AFP on Friday that a complaint had been filed by President Ednaldo Rodrigues with a court in Rio de Janeiro and that the Confederation had also become a civil party.
On November 1, John Textor, who bought Botafogo in March 2022, made very virulent remarks against Mr. Rodrigues after the Rio team's 4-3 defeat against Palmeiras. His criticism focused on the expulsion of defender Adryelson when Botafogo was still leading 3-1.
“The whole world saw it, it’s not a red card (...) It changed the course of the game. It’s theft, corruption,” he chanted, outside him, on the microphone at the Première channel after the meeting. “Ednaldo (Rodrigues), you can fine me, but you have to resign tomorrow morning! This championship has become a joke,” he added.
Botafogo, who were leaders with a 13-point lead three months ago after the first legs, saw their lead melt away like snow in the sun after stringing together four consecutive defeats. On Thursday evening, a week after the setback against Palmeiras, the team lost again by a score of 4-3, this time against Gremio, who turned the situation around thanks to a hat-trick from Uruguayan star Luis Suarez in second half-time.
Botafogo remains at the top of the Brazilian championship, but with the same number of points as Gremio and Palmeiras with five days remaining, but with a match in hand.
John Textor, who made his fortune in cinema special effects and digital creation using artificial intelligence, is the head of the conglomerate Eagle Football Holdings, which owns the London club Crystal Palace, Botofogo, Olympique Lyonnais and the Belgian team RWD Molenbeek.
The 58-year-old American tycoon became president of OL in May 2023, succeeding former historic owner Jean-Michel Aulas. The Lyonnais are having an extremely complicated start to the season, currently occupying last place in the Ligue 1 standings.