Lamine Diack & Issa Hayatou Escape Serious Sanctions in Ethics Case

December 9, 2011

Two senior African members Lamine Diack and Issa Hayatou have escaped without serious sanction from the IOC on Thursday in the ethics scandal that led to the resignation of former FIFA President Joao Havelange.

IAAF President Lamine Diack of Senegal received a warning and African football head Issa Hayatou of Cameroon was given a reprimand after an investigation by the Olympic body’s ethics commission.

Both men received payments from FIFA’s former marketing agency ISL. Neither were members of the International Olympic Committee at the time.

The verdicts by the IOC executive board came just days after the 95-year-old Havelange resigned to avoid suspension in the decade-old case dating to his days as FIFA president.

In differentiating between the rulings on Diack and Hayatou, IOC President Jacques Rogge said “a warning is not a sanction, a reprimand is a sanction.”

In any case, both men remain full IOC members and are free to carry out their duties as normal.

Rogge said the fact that both were not IOC members at the time served as “mitigating circumstances” in the decision not to suspend them.

“The IOC has proven it respects its own rules, that we have high respect for ethical behavior and we do not hesitate to act when needed and evidence is brought to us,” he said. “The IOC means business. The IOC is accountable and transparent.”

Hayatou, an IOC member since 2001, reportedly received about $20,000 from ISL in 1995. He denied any corruption and said the money was a gift for his confederation’s anniversary celebrations.

Diack said he received money after his house in Senegal burned down in 1993. Diack said he did nothing wrong.

The last IOC member to receive a reprimand was Rene Fasel of Switzerland, an executive board member and president of the International Ice Hockey Federation. He was reprimanded in April 2010 for breaking conflict-of-interest rules by helping a friend profit from a sports marketing deal.

Havelange, the IOC’s longest serving member with 48 years of service, had faced a possible two-year suspension for allegedly taking $1 million from ISL in return for World Cup television contracts.

The IOC ethics probe stemmed from a BBC documentary last year into kickbacks allegedly paid by ISL, which owned World Cup television rights and collapsed with debts of $300 million in 2001.

The ISL case was the subject of a Swiss criminal trial in 2008. FIFA has blocked the court in Zug from revealing which officials repaid $6.1 million in kickbacks. The officials repaid the money on condition that their identities remained anonymous.

Blatter, who is also an IOC member, said in October that FIFA’s executive committee would “reopen” the ISL dossier at a Dec. 16-17 meeting in Tokyo as part of a promised drive toward transparency and zero tolerance of corruption.

But, on Wednesday, FIFA said publication of the court papers would be postponed because of “legal measures taken” by a party involved in the case.