IOC Confirm Investigation Into Bribery Allegations Against Former FIFA President

June 17, 2011

The former president of world soccer’s governing body FIFA, João Havelange, is being investigated by the International Olympic Committee (IOC) Ethics Commission over allegations made in a BBC Panorama programme that he received a US$1m bribe.

Havelange has been a member of the IOC since 1963 and at 95, the Brazilian is the most senior member at the body. He was alleged by the programme to have received the “bung” from FIFA’s collapsed marketing partner, ISL.

FIFA have refused to investigate the claims but now it has been revealed that the IOC requested the information from Panorama shortly after the programme was broadcast last November in controversial fashion, just days before the vote on who would host the 2018 and 2022 World Cups.

A spokesman for the IOC told the Guardian: “The IOC takes all allegations of corruption very seriously and we would always ask for any evidence of wrongdoing involving any IOC members to be passed to our Ethics Commission.

“The Ethics Commission launched its inquiry before Christmas last year, after the first BBC Panorama programme went on air. 

“The Commission has received supporting documents from the BBC and is now in the process of verifying the authenticity of the material that has been gathered so far.

“It is therefore pursuing its work and, although we cannot speak on its behalf as it is conducting its work independently, as a general principle they would always look at any available evidence of wrongdoing by IOC members while the process is ongoing.”

Havelange was elected as President of FIFA in 1974 and held the post until 1998 when Sepp Blatter, his chosen successor, who had worked closely with him as FIFA’s general secretary, succeeded him.

Cameroon’s Issa Hayatou, a member of FIFA’s Executive Committee who is also on the IOC, is already under investigation by the Ethics Commission as a result of the controversial programme.

According to the broadcast, a list of secret payments made by now defunct marketing company ISL included one of 100,000 French francs in 1995 to Hayatou.

He has denied the allegations.