Perhaps the greatest Brazilian sports star may be absent from the Rio 2016 opening ceremony on Friday.
Soccer legend Pelé told Brazilian TV station Globo TV on Tuesday that he was invited to light the Olympic cauldron at the opening ceremony, but he may not be able to because of sponsor obligations.
“I have a contract that I am bound to fulfil,” Pelé said, adding that he was checking with a U.S. company that owns the rights to his brand name, according to Reuters. “As a Brazilian, I would love to do it.”
Pelé also said that he would have to cancel a trip planned for Friday night with that sponsor to attend the opening ceremony.
It’s unclear who the sponsor is. According to Yahoo, Pelé has sponsor deals with Subway, Volkswagen, Hublot, and others, but none of those are official Olympic sponsors. Pelé reportedly made $25 million in endorsements in 2014.
Regardless of prior obligations, it’s tough to imagine a company trying to upstage the opening ceremony and thus preventing a Brazlian legend from taking part in such an honour.
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