(WFI) The International Olympic Committee tells INSIDER African football boss Issa Hayatou, who was yesterday appointed by FIFA to chair the organising committee for the London 2012 Olympic football tournaments, is still under investigation over corruption allegations.
“The ethics commission acts independently of the IOC, but my understanding is that those mentioned in the BBC programme are still under investigation and no formal report has yet been sent to the IOC’s executive board,” IOC spokesman Mark Adams told INSIDER.
The president of the Confederation of African Football, also an IOC member from Cameroon, was among three FIFA executives charged with accepting bribes in a BBC Panorama investigation aired just prior to the Dec. 2 vote on the 2018 and 2022 World Cups.
The exposé by investigative journalist Andrew Jennings into “FIFA’s dirty secrets” alleged that Hayatou and two other FIFA Ex-co members – CONMEBOL president Nicolas Leoz and Brazilian football federation chief 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).
At the time, the IOC told INSIDER that it “takes all allegations of corruption very seriously”.
The 65-year-old could be suspended by the IOC Executive Board if its ethics committee finds him guilty of bribery. The IOC board’s next meeting is in December in Lausanne.
Made aware that the IOC was still investigating Hayatou, FIFA declined to comment to INSIDER about the issue.
A FIFA spokesman would only confirm Hayatou’s new role for the London 2012 Olympics and that he was also named as the new chair of the GOAL Bureau.
Hayatou replaces the disgraced Mohamed Bin Hammam who was handed a lifetime ban by FIFA in July following the Qatari’s attempts to bribe Caribbean voters in the FIFA presidential race.
Appointing the controversial Hayatou as head of the GOAL Bureau, which distributes development funds worldwide, appears a strange decision given FIFA president Sepp Blatter’s pledge to rid world football’s governing body of corruption from within.
Hayatou, CAF president since 1987 and a FIFA Ex-Co member for 21 years, was caught up in another bribery scandal earlier this year when The Sunday Times’ submission to a British parliamentary inquiry on football governance
claimed the Qatar 2022 World Cup bid paid him a bribe in exchange for his vote.
He categorically 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”.
FIFA received no evidence to back up the allegations and it later emerged that the whistleblower who made the accusations against Hayatou had lied. Phaedra Almajid, a former press officer for the Gulf state’s bid, apologised to hayatou and two other FIFA executives who were also accussed, admitting: “I have lied about all facts concerning the behaviour and practice of the Qatar 2022 bid. Never, at any time, were any bribes even offered, suggested or paid on behalf of the Qatar 2022 bid during any time in exchange for votes from Issa Hayatou, Jacques Anouma, and Amos Adamu.”
Blatter’s decision to appoint a new head of the GOAL Bureau just one week after FIFA rejected Bin Hammam’s appeal against his lifetime ban is likely to upset the 62-year-old, who has vowed to clear his name when his case reaches the Court of Arbitration for Sport.
Bin Hammam has launched a separate legal proceeding at CAS challenging the right of FIFA to designate Zhang Jilong as Bin Hammam’s replacement at president of the Asian Football Confederation.
Launched in 1999, the GOAL Programme has provided funding for more than 500 global development projects. FIFA’s website says a total of $200 million have been invested in the schemes, which includes help building national association headquarters and training academies.
For the 2011-2014 cycle, FIFA’s Executive Committee has set funding for each GOAL project at $500,000. Each project must be submitted to the GOAL Bureau for its approval.
Interestingly, Hayatou’s African 53-member confederation has received the most funding to date, partly due to projects associated with the South Africa World Cup. A total of 143 GOAL projects have been implemented on the continent; Asia boasts 124 projects.
Ahead of Blatter’s much-anticipated announcement on anti-corruption reforms next month, the Swiss yesterday received his latest award at FIFA headquarters in Zurich. Blatter has now collected nearly 60 such accolades, according to FIFA.com which provides a list of his awards and distinctions.
He was presented with a Friendship Medal by Laos government officials in recognition of his support for football development within the country. The Asian nation has benefited from four GOAL projects in the last decade.
Blatter, who visited Laos in March, said he was “very honoured and touched that the head of state of Laos has awarded me this Friendship Medal”.
Laos is scheduled to host a FIFA seminar for the secretary generals of ASEAN (South-east Asian) member associations next month.
By INSIDER editor Mark Bisson
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