(WFI)Despite allegations of money laundering and fraud, FIFA’s senior vice-president Julio Grondona has won a record ninth four-year term as Argentine Football Association (AFA) president.
He won the unanimous support of the 46 members of an extraordinary AFA congress on Tuesday to serve as association president until 2015.
On Monday, Argentine businessman Carlos Avila accused the 80-year-old of money laundering and corrupt administration, allegations that were shown on a TV programme aired on Canal America. The broadcaster is owned by Grondona rival Daniel Vila, president of the Independiente de Mendoza.
According to the Buenos Aires Herald, Avila’s lawyer, Mariano Cuneo Libarona, revealed the balances of Swiss bank accounts that he claimed were in the names of Grondona, family members and business partners totalling about $30 million. Libarona claimed the money was gained by corrupt means.
Grondona is also caught on hidden camera allegedly discussing sending “black money” to cable TV companies.
Grondona’s lawyer, Francisco Castex, said Monday’s programme was nothing more than another attempt by Vila to defame the AFA boss, insisting he had no clue where the bank records shown to viewers had come from and arguing that the videos were edited to distort the facts.
Grondona made headlines during the summer, when he labelled the English “liars” and “pirates” at the FIFA Congress in Zurich in a spat over England’s failed 2018 World Cup bid.
Grondona was first elected as AFA chair in 1979, just months after Argentina’s World Cup win.
Damaseb hits back at Warner “gifts” slur
FIFA ethics committee deputy chairman Petrus Damaseb, the man who handed down the lifetime ban on Mohamed Bin Hammam and compiled a report on Jack Warner before the former CONCACAF boss quit football’s governing body, has hit back at the Trinidadian’s attack on him.
In a letter published by the Trinidad Guardian on Tuesday, Warner responded to a leaked video recording that reveals how he and Bin Hammam attempted to bribe Caribbean officials at a meeting in May.
Warner promises a tsunami against FIFA “in the fullness of time” – but after Bin Hammam’s FIFA case has gone through the Court of Abitration for Sport. He said it will include revelations about FIFA president Sepp Blatter, claiming he will talk about the racism and Zionism within FIFA.
In the letter, he also fires criticism at Damaseb, claiming the Namibian had received “gifts” from Qatari Bin Hammam during the elections for the 1998 FIFA presidency.
Warner said that he met Damaseb for the first time during “a worldwide
crusade through Africa and Asia begging for support for him [Blatter]”. “I will tell the world what gift Bin Hammam gave to him which was not a bribe then as he has ruled today,” Warner writes in the letter.
Damaseb today responded to Warner’s allegations to “smear” him.
“The only thing I remember is an invitation to dinner at the palatial residence of Mr Bin Hammam while I was attending a FIFA congress in Qatar, together with other FA presidents, and a watch [a customary gift in football] which I still have and treasure and which I accepted to be a gift to me as NFA president and a token and expression of his hospitality and friendship,” Damaseb told The Namibian.
“As NFA president I received many watches as gifts either from host associations or their functionaries or from Fifa,” Damaseb said.
“I was not the president of the NFA when Blatter was first elected in 1998 and had never met Blatter, Warner and Bin Hammam while they were on a ‘worldwide crusade’, as Warner puts it, for Blatter’s election.
“It is a pity that Warner has chosen to engage in a smear campaign founded on falsehoods.”
Prince Ali gets GOAL Bureau role
Jordan’s Prince Ali Bin Al Hussein, FIFA’s vice-president representing Asia, has been appointed deputy chair of the Goal Bureau at world football’s governing body.
Prince Ali, at 35 the youngest FIFA Ex-Co member, joined Blatter, new GOAL Bureau chairman Issa Hayatou and other committee members at the Zurich home of FIFA on Tuesday. He only became a FIFA Ex-Co member after beating Chung Mong-joon to land the Asian post at AFC elections in January.
“I believe the GOAL project has benefited many member associations worldwide and has contributed to football development in these countries. I look forward to working with chairman Hayatou and co-deputy chairman Michel Platini in the best interest of member associations, especially those who need it the most,” said Prince Ali.
“I believe more can be done to proactively promote the projects especially amongst member associations with little access to FIFA projects and to accelerate existing programs as well,” he added.
Hayatou was named last week to replace Mohamed Bin Hammam as chairman of the GOAL Bureau after the post was left vacant following the Qatari’s ban. The body distributes FIFA funds to develop football projects throughout its 208 member nations.
Former Oceania football boss ends football exile
Reynald Temarii, a former FIFA vice president and head of the Oceania Football Confederation, has today ended his football exile following his 12-month ban following a bribery scandal still protesting his innocence.
The Tahitian was secretly filmed talking to undercover reporters from Britain’s Sunday Times newspaper posing as lobbyists during the 2018/2022 World Cup bidding process. He appeared to demand $2.3 million to fund a football academy in Auckland, New Zealand.
Temarii was subsequently banned for a year following a FIFA ethics probe and forced to step down from the OFC.
By INSIDER editor Mark Bisson
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