Wednesday, January 19, 2011

FIFA rules out probe into WCup voters' payments

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FIFA Ethics Committee Chairman Claudio Sulser displays a copy of FIFA's Code of Ethics during news conference after the meeting of the Ethics Committee at the Home of FIFA in Zurich, Nov 18, 2010.

ZURICH - FIFA will not examine allegations made in a BBC television documentary that three senior football officials took secret payments related to marketing deals.

"The investigation and the case are definitely closed," FIFA said Tuesday, two days before its executive committee decides on the hosts of the 2018 and 2022 World Cups.

The BBC program Panorama alleged Monday that FIFA executive committee members Ricardo Teixeira, Nicolas Leoz and Issa Hayatou received cash from FIFA's former marketing partner ISL between 1989-99. ISL collapsed in 2001 with huge debts, sparking a fraud trial.

FIFA said the ISL case was dealt with by a Swiss court in 2008 and no FIFA officials were accused of any crime.

Teixeira, Leoz and Hayatou will all vote on Thursday.

The Confederation of African Football on Tuesday denied claims that Hayatou, a Cameroonian who is an IOC member and also serves as CAF president, received 100,000 French Francs from ISL in secret. CAF said the money was an aboveboard donation to the federation.

"The context within which this information was broadcast does not reflect the truth of what happened," CAF said in a statement. "The amount refers to a donation by ISL to its partner CAF, on the occasion of preparations marking its 40 years celebrations."

CAF said the organization's executive committee approved the donation.

"The transaction dates back to more than 15 years ago and has nothing to do with the designation of candidates hosting the 2018 and 2022 FIFA World Cups," CAF said.

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The BBC said Tuesday it was standing by its allegations.

"Mr Hayatou now seems to be saying that there is an innocent explanation for the payment from ISL," the BBC told Britain's Press Association. "However, when Panorama wrote to him repeatedly and approached him in person offering him an opportunity to put his side of the story, he offered no explanation.

"In fact, he chose not to respond at all in the lead-up to the broadcast. Panorama did not allege that Mr Hayatou is currently being bribed."

The International Olympic Committee said its ethics panel will examine the allegations against Hayatou.

"The IOC has taken note of the allegations made by BBC Panorama and will ask the program makers to pass on any evidence they may have to the appropriate authorities," the IOC said in a statement. "The IOC has a zero tolerance against corruption and will refer the matter to the IOC ethics commission."

The IOC ethics commission has the power to recommend suspension or expulsion of members accused of misconduct.

Hayatou has been an IOC member since 2001.

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The Oct 24, 2006 file photo shows then South African President Thabo Mbeki (R) being presented with a FIFA pennant by FIFA Executive Committee member, Dr Amos Adamu, at the opening of a 2010 soccer World Cup Kick Off Workshop in Cape Town.


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