Soccer

IOC President praises Blatter

2011-11-01 17:51
Jacques Rogge (File)

Lausanne - IOC President Jacques Rogge praised Sepp Blatter on Tuesday for promising to re-open a case which could confirm allegations that FIFA and Olympic officials took kickbacks from marketing contracts.

"Sepp Blatter promised to deliver and I believe that he is delivering," Rogge told The Associated Press.

Rogge said the International Olympic Committee executive board will study a separate investigation on December 7-8 into the ISL case by the Olympic body's independent ethics commission.

One week later, FIFA is scheduled to publish Swiss court papers about the secret payments as part of Blatter's promised drive toward transparency and zero tolerance of corruption.

"I can only applaud the intention to release documents that are creating controversy nowadays. I think that is a very good thing," Rogge said.

FIFA has blocked the court in Zug from revealing which officials repaid 5.5 million Swiss francs ($6.1 million) in kickbacks from World Cup television deals. They made the repayments on condition their identities remain anonymous.

Rogge said he wasn't sure whether the re-opened case would cause problems for officials in the Olympic movement, who worked with ISL until the agency collapsed with debts of $300 million (€220 million) in 2001.

"I don't know, because I don't know what is in the documents," he said.

Dealing with the ISL case has become a key test of Blatter's determination to clean up world football after a series of corruption scandals.

The BBC has reported that court documents name Joao Havelange of Brazil, Blatter's predecessor as FIFA leader. Havelange is also the longest serving IOC member, going back to 1963.

The BBC also named Ricardo Teixeira, Havelange's former son-in-law who heads Brazil's 2014 World Cup organising team. Brazilian federal authorities are seeking the Swiss documents to investigate possible money laundering.

FIFA has often defended its officials by insisting that commercial bribery was not a crime in Switzerland at the time, and that no football officials were charged in a criminal probe into ISL's bankruptcy.

The BBC also alleged that Issa Hayatou of Cameroon, an IOC member for 10 years and Africa's top football official, received around $20 000 from ISL in 1995. Hayatou denied corruption and said it was a gift for his football confederation.

The IOC asked its ethics body to investigate based on the BBC's evidence after a documentary about FIFA was broadcast last November.

"The ethics commission has done an inquiry, (it) will present a report in early December," Rogge said Tuesday. "We don't know what is in the report because it is strict confidentiality. The report will not necessarily propose decisions. It might be an information only. I don't know. We will see."

Blatter, who is also an IOC member, said last month that FIFA's executive committee would "re-open" the ISL dossier at a December 16-17 meeting in Tokyo.

"We will give this file to an independent organisation outside of FIFA so they can delve into this file and extract its conclusions and present them to us," he said in Zurich.

FIFA later said it would publish a 41-page court document, translated into English, French, German and Spanish.

Read more on:    fifa scandal  |  jacques rogge  |  sepp blatter
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