(WFI) African football boss Issa Hayatou and FIFA ExCo member Lydia Nsekera could face IOC punishment after both were engulfed in new corruption allegations relating to the Qatar World Cup bid.
The IOC members from Cameroon and Burundi were named in a report by the Sunday Times as having accepted payments and junkets from former FIFA presidential candidate Mohamed Bin Hammam.
The newspaper says the Qatari used slush funds controlled by his private company to make payments totaling $5m in his bid to secure the support of Africa’s four FIFA ExCo members for the Qatar 2022 bid and likely his own FIFA presidential ambitions.
Hayatou’s name appears a number of times in the exposé. Bin Hammam is said to have channelled $400,000 to his Cameroon federation from the FIFA Goal Programme, which the Qatari controlled. The newspaper claims that Bin Hammam also bought 60 South Africa World Cup tickets costing about $3,800 and had them delivered to the CAF president.
Nsekera, the first female member of the FIFA ExCo, was allegedly among the 25 African football associations’ officials presented with $5,000 each plus gifts in Nike holdalls when they arrived in Kuala Lumpur on an all-expenses-paid junket.
INSIDER is told that the IOC is likely to open an ethics investigation into the pair once the newspaper’s dossier on the bidding scandal is passed on to the Olympic body. Sanctions would be handed down if the IOC panel concludes they accepted bribes or flouted ethics rules.
FIFA’s anti-corruption chief Michael Garcia’s report on the 2018/2022 World Cup bidding contest concludes next week with a report due to the adjudicatory panel of FIFA’s ethics commission in late July, which will decide on any sanctions. Qatar could yet be stripped of the World Cup.
IOC spokeswoman Emmanuelle Moreau told INSIDER: “We are aware of the report in the Sunday Times involving the FIFA World Cup. At this stage it seems like this is primarily a matter for FIFA to look into and to comment on.”
CAF released a lengthy statement, saying Hayatou “categorically” denied the allegations and labelled them variously as “fanciful” and “ridiculous”. CAF insisted the 67-year-old “has never received any money from Mr Bin Hammam, the Emir of Qatar or any member of the Qatar 2022 bidding committee”.
“Such allegations are meant to discredit not only him as a person but the whole continent. Like in 2011, the CAF president is waiting for the famous evidence from the Sunday Times and reserves the right to take legal action against any of those responsible for the smear campaign against him,” the statement concluded.
Hayatou, a FIFA vice-president since 1992 and an IOC member since 2001, is on a red card with the IOC after being reprimanded in 2011 over ethics violations relating to FIFA’s ISL marketing scandal.
He was the subject of an IOC investigation after the allegations were revealed in a BBC Panorama documentary in December 2010, days before the FIFA vote on the 2018 and 2022 World Cups. The exposé by BBC investigative journalist Andrew Jennings into “FIFA’s dirty secrets” said Hayatou and two other FIFA Ex-co members – CONMEBOL president Nicolas Leoz and Brazilian football federation chief Ricardo Teixeira – took backhanders in the $100 million scandal involving FIFA’s former marketing partner ISL which collapsed in 2001.
Hayatou was accused of taking 100,000 French Francs (about $20,340). He has always maintained that it was a gift for his confederation.
He was also caught up in another bribery scandal in 2011 that surfaced in a Sunday Times’ submission to a British parliamentary inquiry on football governance. He denied any wrongdoing. And the Qatar Football Association said the submission contained “a series of serious, unsubstantiated and false allegations regarding the conduct of the bid committee”. The whistleblower who made the accusations against Hayatou later said she had lied and retracted them offering an apology.
Last year, Hayatou was reelected to lead the African confederation for another four-year term. He was first elected in 1988. Hayatou was the only candidate on the ballot after pushing through controversial statutes meaning only current or former members of the CAF Executive Committee could stand for president.
By INSIDER editor Mark Bisson
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