RIO DE JANEIRO – Former Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, who is serving a 12-year prison sentence for corruption, will provide his thoughts on the 2018 World Cup to a television channel and radio station.
Sports commentator Jose Trajano, who hosts a soccer show on TVT television and the Brasil Actual radio station, made the announcement on Friday in a video uploaded to social media outlets affiliated with Lula’s Workers’ Party (PT).
“TVT and Brasil Actual radio will have a new commentator, an exclusive commentator,” Trajano said. “Former President Lula will write his impressions about the World Cup, send them to us and we’ll show them written on screen, so you’ll be able to read them and hear them read out by an announcer.”
The 72-year-old Lula will make his debut as a soccer commentator on Monday, a day after Brazil’s first group-stage match against Switzerland.
The former president is a big soccer fan and a passionate supporter of Corinthians, a Sao Paulo club that is Brazil’s second-most popular team after Rio-based Flamengo.
Lula can follow the World Cup action because he has been allowed a TV set in his cell at the Federal Police headquarters in the southern city of Curitiba.
Even though Lula has already been convicted in one case – and still faces six other corruption trials – the PT is still seeking to have his name included on the October presidential ballot.
Lula, who governed from 2003-2011 and left office with sky-high approval ratings, would be the clear front-runner if he were allowed to run. But election authorities are not expected to allow his candidacy.
A three-judge appeals court panel ruled in January that there was sufficient proof that Lula accepted a triplex in Guaruja, a resort town near Sao Paulo, from construction company OAS in exchange for helping that firm secure contracts with Brazilian state oil company Petrobras.
It also increased his sentence from nine years and six months to 12 years and one month.
The case against Lula, who denies any wrongdoing, was based largely on plea-bargained testimony from people already convicted as part of the sprawling Petrobras investigation.