PtG Article 17.03.2012

Gun threat and desperation as police try to take over Mario Goijman’s home

The Argentinean whistleblower must leave his house for good on Monday. Play the Game launches an appeal to FIVB and international sport to accept mediation.

The volatile situation of volleyball whistleblower Mario Goijman from Argentina escalated dramatically yesterday, Friday 16 March, when police and civil servants came to his home in the outskirts of Buenos Aires in order to take his house and all belongings into possession following a court order from November 2011. 

According to an email sent to Play the Game, Mario Goijman writes: “…took a gun and intended to shoot myself under a nervous attack. The police [interfered], the ambulance came to treat me.”

After treatment and intense negotiations, the police accepted to postpone the takeover of Goijman’s properties until this Monday, 19 March. The episode is the climax of a ten-year long battle between the Federación Argentina de Voleiból (FAV), which was presided by Goijman when Argentina hosted the World Championships in 2002. When Goijman and the FAV at the time raised doubts about the authenticity of the FIVB accounts – doubts that proved fully justified – the then FIVB president, Rubén Acosta from Mexico, punished the Argentines by holding back payments due to the FAV worth over 800,000 US-dollars.

This left the FAV with an enormous debt that Goijman is held legally responsible for, and which now forces him to hand his home and all his properties over to his creditors.

A detailed summary of the FAV-FIVB case, which became instrumental in revealing the corrupt practices of Rubén Acosta, can be read here.

Play the Game has approached key persons at the FIVB and the international sports community in Lausanne, hoping to pave the way for mediation through CAS or other neutral frameworks. Play the Game is also trying to create awareness in Argentina, so an interim solution can be found for the acute problems of Goijman. We base our appeal on the following arguments:

  • The only reason for the FIVB to withhold large payments to the FAV in 2002 seems to be a determination by the then President Rubén Acosta to eradicate any opposition that would bring his undisputed power base and huge personal and illicit earnings in danger,
  • The 24 years of rule by Rubén Acosta was no trivial detail in world sport. For an objective viewpoint based on well-documented facts, it represents one of the worst cases of financial and political abuse of sport for personal gains by any federation president in the history of sport,
  • Mario Goijman was instrumental in raising perfectly legitimate questions and gathering solid evidence about serious fraud and mismanagement issues, presenting the documents to the courts, to the IOC and to the general public, and had he not done this, the gross abuse of sport might have continued today and well into the future,
  • No national federation and no single individual deserves as harsh a punishment for raising fully legitimate questions as the FAV and Mario Goijman has received during a decade,
  • The FIVB Board have, in a very responsible and laudable manner, acknowledged a share of responsibility for events of the past and a willingness to correct all important errors made,
  • The FIVB has already shown commitment to and ability of improving its governance standards on a number of areas, a fact that Play the Game fully recognises.

In addition to Goijman and 12 FAV board members, a number of well-merited volleyball leaders were arbitrarily excluded by Rubén Acosta without access to defend their cause, and their expulsion should be declared null and void. Presently, we have urged Mario Goijman not to do any harm to himself or to others since this will never bring about a just and fair solution to this conflict. Goijman’s desperate call The desperation of Mario Goijman is palpable in an email he sent to FIVB board members the day before he was sought by the police.Mario Goijman's email:

“I have been a part of you, a leader for our beautiful sport. [...] I worked always in an honorary basis, never received any payment from nobody in my positions in Volleyball. [...] I proceeded in every aspect of [the World Cup organisation] with quality, and honesty, I did not make any unauthorized publicity neither, make nothing beside the rules and the contracts.

[...] Today you finally understood that all my accusations were truth, that Acosta had to resign to the IOC and to the FIVB, and that you had been tricked by his power.

[...] You know that I was a wealthy man that supported with loans and guarantees the cost of the World Championship, and the Cost of legal battle in the Lausanne Tribunals to unveil Acosta’s attitudes. I always knew that the Balance of the Common Fund, which I worked hard to increase, was enough to support the Cost of the Championship and thus I put my money in the event, and signed banking guarantees. But Acosta revenge was to adultery also the Common Fund, and not to pay to the organizing Committee, what was owed to it. After 10 years, I am completely ruined. The banks executed my guarantees, the FIVB decided not to amend the Acosta abuses, and I lost my car, my company, and recently I was expelled from my own house that will be going in two months to an auction. Such injustice for defending honesty, principles, and dignity, hurt me too much!!!!

I am very sick, depressed, with diabetes out of control and my heart decompensate. I cry every night, THIS WAS TOO MUCH FOR ME. My actual and daily live is a nightmare. I will die in a few months, or my depression will take me to finish my live by my own hands.  Why do you hate me so much to take me to death?  I did anything out the law or the spirit of sport? I cannot understand such hate!!!!

Because I fight hard to clean Volleyball from a dirty and greedy couple? If I know that you shared my concepts, of honesty and transparency.  Think it over and be just!!! I don’ want any recognition, my conscience is happy. But return to the Argentina Federation what belongs to it. Let me die in peace, knowing that at least my sons will not have to carry over them, the debts that ACOSTA, put over me, for organizing a brilliant Championship.” ---

Jens Sejer Andersen is International Director of Play the Game. A detailed summary of the FAV-FIVB case can be read here.