Zurich - Joao Havelange has resigned as honorary FIFA president over claims
that he had accepted bribes, world football's governing body announced
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 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 the head of the committee, Hans-Joachim Eckert.
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
His successor, Sepp Blatter, is said to have known about one
payment to ISL destined for Havelange of 1.5 million Swiss francs ($1.6
million), with the report concluding that Blatter's conduct was
"clumsy" but not "criminal".
Blatter welcomed the report's findings.
have taken note of the report from the chairperson of the adjudicatory
chamber of the FIFA Ethics Committee, Hans-Joachim Eckert, regarding the
examination of the ISL case," Blatter said in a statement.
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'.
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."