PtG Article 30.04.2013

Blatter cleared by FIFA ISL examination

Today the long awaited official FIFA report into the ISL affair was released. The report is written by Hans-Joachim Eckert, head of the FIFA ethics committee's adjudicatory chamber and looks into the ethical responsibilities in this case which involves multi-million bribes from ISL on World Cup marketing deals in the 1990s.

The report has been underway since July 2012 when documents from a Swiss court first revealed that high ranking FIFA officials Joao Havelange, FIFA president from 1974-98, the president of the South American Football Confederation (CONMEBOL) Nicolas Leoz and Ricardo Teixeira, former president of the Brazilian Football Federation (COB) had all taken bribes in exchange for marketing rights to the ISL.

The newly released FIFA report also confirms this.

"From money that passed through the ISMM/ISL Group, it is certain that not inconsiderable amounts were channelled to Havelange and to his son-in-law Ricardo Teixeira as well as to Nicolas Leoz, whereby there is no indication that any form of service was given in return by them. These payments were apparently made via front companies in order to cover up the true recipient and are to be qualified as "commissions", known today as "bribes"," the report says.

Today FIFA announced that Havelange has resigned from his title as FIFA honorary president, while Nicolas Leoz last week declared to step down from his obligations as CONMEBOL president and his ExCo seat in FIFA. In March last year Brazilian Ricardo Teixeira resigned from his duties as president of the COB as well as his FIFA ExCo seat.

The report cleared Sepp Blatter, FIFA president since 1998 and general-secretary in the years of the ISL payments, of wrongdoing.

"President Blatter's conduct could not be classified in any way as misconduct with regard to any ethics rules.

"The conduct of President Blatter may have been clumsy because there could be an internal need for clarification, but this does not lead to any criminal or ethical misconduct," the report says.

Blatter himself says in a statement issued on the release that he has noted the report "with satisfaction".

"I have no doubt that FIFA, thanks to the governance reform process that I proposed, now has the mechanisms and means to ensure that such an issue - which has caused untold damage to the reputation of our institution - does not happen again," he says in the statement.

The report concludes that since Havelange and Leoz have resigned from their FIFA related positions, "any further steps or suggestions are superfluous." 

The FIFA ethics committee now regards their examination of the ISL case as closed.

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