IOC Member Under Investigation Assigned Head of Olympic Football Tournament

September 21, 2011

African football power-broker, Issa Hayatou has been awarded the responsibility of running the football tournament at next year’s London Olympics by FIFA even though he is under investigation by the International Olympic Committee’s (IOC) Ethics Commission for corruption allegations.

In what will be viewed as a highly contentious choice in some circles, Hayatou has been appointed head of FIFA’s Organising Committee for Olympic football tournaments starting with London 2012. 

The 65-year-old from Cameroon, a member of the IOC since 2001, has also been appointed to take over FIFA’s GOAL project that supports development programmes in poorer nations.

Although Hayatou, President of the Confederation of African Football (CAF), was boss of the Organising Committee at last year’s World Cup, he is still under investigation by the IOC following claims by a BBC television programme that he received a payment of 100,000 French francs in 1995 from the now defunct marketing company ISL.

Hayatou claimed his conscience was clear and that the money was given to the CAF to celebrate their 40th anniversary. 

But IOC President Jacques Rogge referred the allegations to the IOC Ethics Commission which still have to report their findings but could expel the 65-year-old as an IOC member if they find him guilty.

Six months after the Panorama programme, Hayatou again became embroiled in controversy when a British parliamentary inquiry into England’s failed 2018 World Cup was told that he  was allegedly  paid $1.5m each to vote for Qatar’s 2022 World Cup bid.

Qatar beat the United States by a landslide in the final round of voting for the right to host the 2022 tournament, the biggest ever upset in bidding history.

Hayatou described the corruption claim as “pure invention” while Qatar’s Football Association denounced the accusations as “serious and baseless” and said they would “remain unproven because they are false.”

An inquiry into the allegations, which first came to light in newspaper reports and were disclosed under Parliamentary privilege, later found there was no evidence whatsoever  to support them while serious allegations made by a whistle-blower regarding Qatar’s World Cup bid were subsequently withdrawn.