PtG Article 07.11.2005

Volleygate - a story of power, greed and corruption

It had been a long and arduous road, but in the end Mario Goijman of the Argentinean Volleyball Federation was able to stand before the Play the Game conference in Copenhagen and relate compelling evidence of corruption, greed and blatant misuse of power in the ruling body of his sport that occasionally had the audience gasping in disbelief.

Defying a legal threat by the International Volleyball Federation (FIVB) Mario Goijman charged that FIVB President Rubén Acosta has been enriching himself at the sport’s expense for many years through false expense claims, dubious property deals, secret commissions on contracts, and invoices from false companies. In a world short on fundamental principles, he stated, sport has a moral obligation to expose such malpractice in order to keep its own ethical values intact.

Although many of his allegations have been documented elsewhere, Mario Goijman was still able to provide a few shocks – not least by revealing a long list of volleyball leaders who have quit during Mr Acosta’s reign. In addition, he stated that more than ninety other leaders have been sacked for various ‘offences’ such as questioning Mr Acosta’s decisions.

The scandal started after the 1988 men’s World Volleyball Championships in Argentina, which Mario Goijman was heavily involved in organising. The championships were a great success but soon afterwards he began to express concerns over the accuracy of the accounts. These initial accusations led to a spiralling paper trail of forgery, false accounting, secret contract options and crooked property deals involving up to 19 million US dollars.

The scandal not only led to Mario Goijman being expelled from the FIVB, it also led to the exclusion of the entire Argentine Volleyball Federation, meaning youth volleyball teams were prevented from taking part in international tournaments.

Despite his belief that IOC President Jacques Rogge preferred to accept the alleged theft of Olympic funds rather than take action against Mr Acosta, Mario Goijman expressed his gratitude to members of the IOC’s Ethics Committee who kept the case open when it looked as though it would be swept under the carpet.

Although Rubén Acosta has been on the receiving end of strong criticism from the IOC’s Ethics Committee and is facing court proceedings in Switzerland in March 2006 for alleged property crimes, he still retains his position as FIVB president.

Read Play the Game's overview of claims and counter-claims in Volleygate

Go to Volleygate - a website with all Mario Goijman's documentation

As one of very few, Mario Goijman from Argentina has been successful in taking on the International Volleyball Federation and its president Ruben Acosta


Official high resolution pictures from the conference are provided by photographer Niels Nyholm.

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