Football

FIFA's honorary president resigns after scandal

Havelange was FIFA president between 1974 & 1998 (©GettyImages)
Havelange was FIFA president between 1974 & 1998 (©GettyImages).

FIFA’s honorary president João Havelange has resigned after a report ruled that he had taken bribes, according to BBC Sport.

The report by FIFA’s ethics chairman Hans-Joachim Eckert ruled that the 96-year-old Brazilian had been taking bribes from World Cup rights marketing agency International Sports and Leisure. Havelange has subsequently been described as “morally and ethically reproachable”.

ISL were granted exclusive rights to market World Cup tournaments and negotiate television broadcast rights. The company, who will have profited enormously from those rights, folded in 2001 under the weight of heavy debt and subsequently its links to FIFA were investigated.

These findings, whilst superficial, significant raise larger questions. Questions about FIFA’s dealings in general and how this was allowed to continue for so long.

The payments are reported to have been made between 1992 and 2000. How could such large payments between Havelange and two others - the amounts could total as much as £14.5m - have passed underneath Sepp Blatter’s nose?

The report continued, saying: "There are also no indications whatsoever that President Blatter was responsible for a cash flow to Havelange, [Ricardo] Teixeira or [Dr Nicolas] Leoz, or that that he himself received any payments from the ISL Group, even in the form of hidden kickback payments.

"It must be questioned, however, whether President Blatter knew or should have known over the years before the bankruptcy of ISL that ISL had made payments to other Fifa officials."

Mr. Blatter is very keen to draw an end to this lengthy and damaging saga by pointing out that the report suggests: “the ISL case is concluded” and that “no further proceedings related to the ISL matter are warranted against any other football official.”

He went on to say: "I also note with satisfaction that this report confirms that 'President Blatter's conduct could not be classified in any way as misconduct with regard to any ethics rules'."

 

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