• Switzerland's news in English

FIFA's honorary prez resigns over bribe claims

AFP · 30 Apr 2013, 20:17

Published: 30 Apr 2013 20:17 GMT+02:00

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

Havelange stood down after being targeted in the findings of an Ethics Committee set up by FIFA to investigate a scandal involving the now bankrupt Swiss-based marketing agency International Sport and Leisure (ISL) and World Cup television rights.
The Brazilian's conduct was described as "morally and ethically reproachable" in the report into the affair headed by FIFA's ethics chairman, Hans-Joachim Eckert.
Havelange, now 96 and in poor health, is alleged to have taken improper payments during his time serving as FIFA's seventh president between 1974 and 1998.
The report also accused Havelange's son-in-law and former FIFA executive, Ricardo Teixeira and Nicolas Leoz, of taking kickbacks.
But while qualifying as bribes, the report stressed that payments received by this trio between 1992 and May 2000 were not crimes at the time.
Leoz, accused in the report of being "not fully candid",  resigned last week from FIFA's executive committee.
Havelange's successor, Sepp Blatter, is said to have known about one payment to ISL destined for Havelange of 1.5 million francs ($1.6 million), with the report concluding that Blatter's conduct was "clumsy" but not "criminal".
Blatter welcomed the report's findings.
"I have taken note of the report from the chairman of the adjudicatory chamber of the FIFA Ethics Committee, Hans-Joachim Eckert, regarding the examination of the ISL case," Blatter said in a statement.
"I note in particular that, in his conclusions, chairman Eckert states that 'the ISL case is concluded for the Ethics Committee' and that 'no further proceedings related to the ISL matter are warranted against any other football official'.
"I also note with satisfaction that this report confirms that 'President Blatter's conduct could not be classified in any way as misconduct with regard to any ethics rules'.
"I have no doubt that FIFA, thanks to the governance reform process that I proposed, now has the mechanisms and means to ensure that such an issue, which has caused untold damage to the reputation of our institution, does not happen again."
Tuesday's ethics report seemingly draws a line under the damaging long-running affair which began when the marketing agency ISL folded with huge debts in 2001, triggering an investigation by Swiss authorities.
In 2010, BBC's Panorama programme alleged that three senior FIFA offiicals had taken bribes from ISL, forcing FIFA, under orders from the Swiss supreme court, to hand over confidential documents relating to the case last year.
That release of papers led in turn to Tuesday's findings.

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

Your comments about this article

Today's headlines
Inside Switzerland’s largest nuclear bunker – 40 years on
Designed to house 20,000 people, the bunker was built in and over two motorway tunnels. Photo: Unterirdisch Ueberleben

The Local takes a tour of the Sonnenberg bunker in Lucerne, opened 40 years ago at the height of the Cold War.

Ten Swiss ski resorts named most expensive in Europe
File photo: Renato Bagattini/Swiss Tourism

Skiers in Switzerland pay the highest prices for their ski passes of anywhere in Europe, according to research.

Eco group fights Bern over wind farm plans
There are currently more than 30 wind farms in Switzerland. Photo: Alpiq

Wind turbines are “gigantic and destructive” machines, says Paysage Libre Suisse.

Vegan wins battle to be accepted by Swiss army
Antoni Da Campo will now carry out his military service. Photo: Antoni Da Campo

A Swiss man who was told he would not be accepted for military service because of his strict veganism has finally succeeded in making the army change its mind.

Geneva terror suspects to receive compensation
File photo: Emran Kassim

The Swiss public prosecutor has dropped the case against them.

Ticino firefighters rescue cow from swimming pool
File photo: The Local

The cow was at risk of drowning after falling into the private pool.

Uefa Champions League
Basel 'ready for battle' in Champions League clash
Basel training in Paris. Photo: Franck Fife/AFP

Swiss champions Basel fancy their chances of springing a surprise when they face Paris Saint-Germain on Wednesday.

Burst pipe causes major flood in Lausanne
The water flooded Place de la Riponne in Lausanne. File photo: Swiss Tourism/Christof Schuerpf

Water rushed down the streets after a pipe burst in the city centre.

Outcry after ‘neo-Nazi’ music festival held on Swiss soil
The village of Unterwasser was the tranquil location for the festival. Photo: Swiss Tourism

Should police have intervened?

Seven things you’ll miss about Switzerland if you leave
Switzerland: what's not to miss? Photo: Christian Perret/Swiss Tourim

Former expats in Switzerland tell The Local what they miss about living here.

Sponsored Article
How to vote absentee from abroad in the US elections
Photo: Richard Juilliard/AFP
Man makes Geneva airport bomb threat ‘for a joke’
Sponsored Article
Last chance to vote absentee in the US elections
Photo: AFP
Solar Impulse team reveals plans for unmanned plane
File photo: Martin Abegglen
Swiss to vote on passport rules for 3rd gen foreigners
Sponsored Article
How to vote absentee from abroad in the US elections
Photo: AFP
Swiss wingsuit hotspot Lauterbrunnen won’t impose ban
Photo: Swiss Tourism
Six reasons Switzerland isn’t as boring as you might think
Photo: Swiss Tourism
Report: Switzerland one of world’s best places for girls
Photo: The Local
Thief returns Swiss cow bells worth thousands
File photo: Wikimedia Commons
One in three rapists isn’t locked up: statistics
Photo: activistin.ch
Tampon-tax protest turns Zurich fountains red
Photo: AFP
Geneva police to lift ban on bearded officers
Photo: Marcel Gillieron/AFP
Suicide chef’s restaurant keeps Michelin stars
Photo: Lara de Salis
11 things the Swiss get tired of hearing abroad
Photo:  Ivo Scholz/Swiss-image.ch
Survey: expats in Switzerland have money but few friends
Photo: AFP
Swiss press criticize Bern’s 'capitulation' on immigration
Photo: Jura Trois Lacs tourism
German ex-policeman is Swiss city’s new hermit
Photo: Dmitry A. Mottl
Ticino votes to favour local workers over foreigners
Photo: file
Some deodorants could cause breast cancer: Swiss study
Photo: Royal Savoy
In pictures: Inside the latest Swiss luxury hotel
Photo: AFP
Geneva airport bomb hoaxer faces 90,000-franc bill
Photo: Schaffhausen police
Mother leaves toddler son alone in car to go clubbing
Photo: Fabrice Coffrini/AFP
Swiss populist attacked by knife-wielding pensioner
Photo: File
Bern argues over passports for 3rd generation foreigners
Photo: Broad Bean Media
Muslim pupils must shake hands – ‘no ifs and buts’
jobs available