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FOOTBALL

Ex-FIFA chief Havelange took bribes: Swiss court

Former world football chief Joao Havelange received enormous bribes from FIFA's discredited former marketing company, court documents released in Switzerland reveal.

The 96-year-old Brazilian, FIFA president for 24 years before Sepp Blatter stepped into the hotseat in 1998, pocketed at least 1.5 million francs ($1.52 million) and FIFA executive committee member Ricardo Teixeira at least 12.74 million.

The bribes, made by International Sport and Leisure (ISL), were detailed in documents made public by Switzerland's supreme court and published by the BBC on Wednesday.

FIFA's discredited Swiss-based marketing partner collapsed in 2001 with debts of around $300 million.

FIFA published the Swiss court's report on its website and in a statement world football's governing body emphasised that while Havelange and Teixeira were identified Blatter was not.

"The decision of the Swiss Federal Court also confirms that only two foreign officials will be named as part of the process and that…..the FIFA president is not involved in the case," the statement stressed.

The court documents however did reveal that FIFA chiefs had knowledge that Havelange and Teixeira had been paid bribes by ISL.

It also disclosed that FIFA had agreed to pay 2.5 million Swiss francs in compensation – but only on the condition that criminal proceedings against Havelange and Teixeira were dropped.

Havelange, who remains FIFA's honorary president, stepped down after a 48-year-spell as a member of the International Olympic Committee last December just days before an ethics hearing into his links with ISL.

Havelange was accused by a BBC documentary in 2010 of kickbacks totalling $1 million from ISL for granting lucrative World Cup contracts.

Havelange, who became an IOC member in 1963, was FIFA president between 1974-98 before he was replaced by Blatter, his long time FIFA secretary general.

In May he was discharged after two months in hospital in Rio de Janeiro where he was being treated for an ankle infection and cardiac and pulmonary problems.

He is the former father-in-law of Teixeira, who recently resigned as head of Brazilian football and as chief of Brazil's organizing committee for the 2014 World Cup following a spate of corruption allegations.

Havelange was instrumental in bringing the Olympics to Rio de Janeiro and to South America for the first time when in 2009 the IOC elected the city as the 2016 host.

At the vote in Copenhagen he famously invited IOC members to his 100th birthday party on Copacabana beach in 2016 should they award the Games to Rio.

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FOOTBALL

‘Overwhelmed’: Unaware Swiss super fan stunned about viral fame

A Swiss super fan who has shot to fame after images of him watching Switzerland’s win over France went viral told the media he was unaware of his viral fame - but that he was overwhelmed with the world’s attention.

‘Overwhelmed’: Unaware Swiss super fan stunned about viral fame
Image: Twitter.

Like most Swiss football fans, Luca Loutenbach’s Monday evening – highlighted by a surprise upset win over the current World Champions and tournament favourite France – went about as well as you could have expected. 

But while his side were putting on the pressure through late goals to push the game into extra time, Loutenbach’s image was being shared across the world. 

Two pictures of Loutenbach, juxtaposed from before and after Switzerland scored an equaliser in the 90th minute to send the game to extra time, were widely shared. 

The images were even shared by Sadiq Kahn, the mayor of London, who congratulated Switzerland and said the images summed up the beauty of football. 

On Tuesday, Loutenbach spoke with Swiss tabloid Blick to tell the story. He said he had no idea about the images as his phone had no reception in Romania – and only found out after the game. 

“I didn’t have a network during the game. But some fans around me were connected to the internet and quickly realized what was happening. What an incredible buzz!” said the man from the canton of Jura. 

While Switzerland have made it further than they have in their history in the tournament, Loutenbach is far from a bandwagon fan. He told Blick he’s seen around 50 national team games before. 

“It’s the most beautiful day in the history of Swiss football, let’s not be afraid of saying it. It is the accomplishment of the immense work of the ASF (Federation), of (coach) Petkovic and of the whole team” he said. 

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