BREAKING NEWS: FIFA and IOC Respond to Corruption Allegations

November 30, 2010

FIFA have released a press statement in the light of BBC’s Panorama special concerning allegations of bribe taking by three of the remaining officials set to vote on the 2018/2022 World Cup bids. The documentary, aired on Monday 29 November, revealed information alleging that Nicolas Leoz, Issa Hayatou and Ricardo Teixeira had taken bribes in the 1990’s.

The alleged dealings listing 175 payments totalled around US$100m. The BBC have come under fire for criticism over the timing of the programme just 3 days before the decision on the host nations of the World Cup’s 2018/2022 will be made.

Though none of the three men would comment on the allegations made in the documentary, it is feared that England’s World Cup bid could be affected by the revelations. Andy Anson, Head of England’s 2018 World Cup bid told the BBC he was “disappointed with the timing” of the programme.

The three members alleged to have taken the bribes were paid by International Sport and Leisure (ISL), the leading sports marketing company at the time. The payments date from 1989 to 1999 before the company collapsed two years later.

ISL were granted with exclusive rights to market World Cup tournaments by FIFA with the company receiving millions from some of the world’s biggest brands as well as television broadcasting rights.

A fourth FIFA official was also named in the documentary with it not being the first time that vice-president Jack Warner has been investigated by Panorama. In 2006 the show revealed that Mr Warner had sold tickets for the 2006 World Cup in Germany on the black market.

FIFA ordered Warner to make a $1m payment to charity through his family business to “compensate for the profits it had made through resale of 2006 FIFA World Cup tickets”. Panorama now says it has seen e-mails and an invoice showing Mr Warner was involved in the procurement of $84,000 worth of 2010 World Cup tickets.

IOC to Examine Bribery Allegations

FIFA have since dismissed the allegations, continually referring to the court hearing in Zug, Switzerland in 2008 which failed to convict any FIFA officials of criminal offences.

One of the three men accused of accepting bribes, FIFA Vice-President Issa Hayatou, is also a member of the International Olympic Committee (IOC) and the governing body has referred the matter to its ethics commission.

“The IOC has taken note of the allegations made by BBC Panorama and will ask the programme makers to pass on any evidence they may have to the appropriate authorities. The IOC has a zero tolerance against corruption and will refer the matter to the IOC Ethics Commission,” it said.

FIFA were quick to refute the claims made by the BBC documentary and released a statement claiming that the events had taken place over 10 years ago and that the issue was closed.

FIFA Statement in Full

In relation to recent media reports, FIFA would like to recall the following:

The matters concerning the case “ISL/ISMM” which are referred to date back many years ago and were investigated by the relevant authorities in Switzerland.

In its verdict of 26 June 2008, the Criminal Court of Zug had not convicted any FIFA Officials. It is therefore important to stress again the fact that no FIFA officials were accused of any criminal offence in these proceedings.

Furthermore, it is important to recall that the decision was made on matters which took place prior to the year 2000 and there has been no court conviction against FIFA. The investigation and the case are definitely closed.

FIFA Media department, 30 November 2010