K E I R R A D N E D G E R E P O R T I N G
—- ZURICH: At long last, FIFA’s executive committee will be confronted in March by as much of the truth as may ever emerge from its murky depths about the depth and breadth of the ISL scandal.
For nearly two years from 1982 the specifically-designed marketing company monopolised control of the commercial interests of the world football federation and then also the Olympic movement.
International Sport & Leisure was the vehicle built by Adidas heir Horst Dassler but it spiralled out of the control after his death in 1987, sought to spread its wings and financial influence far too wide for its own good and eventually went bankrupt in 2001.
Later it emerged that millions of dollars had been paid out by ISL officials in bribes and kickbacks to senior figures within FIFA as well as the IOC and the world football federation fought for years in the Swiss federal court to prevent their identities being revealed.
Indeed, FIFA even bought off prosecutors through a financial settlement which was supposed to seal the ISL file for all time and eternity.
However, the pressure for reform which overwhelmed FIFA in the winter of 2010-11 forced a surrender over ISL and eventual confirmation that illicit payments had been made to former president Joao Havelange and exco members Ricardo Teixeira, Nicolas Leoz and Issa Hayatou.
To this day Havelange and Teixeira have never formally admitted having received monies though Havelange quit the IOC in ignominy and Teixeira fled Brazil, where he was football federation president, to self-imposed exile in Miami.
Reviewing the ISL court file, and the ‘secret’ schedule of payments, had been one of the priority tasks undertaken by FIFA’s new American ethics prosecutor Michael Garcia on his appointment last summer.
In a statement issued at his behest on Thursday evening via the FIFA media department, Garcia said he had completed his review of the ISL case and “will detail his findings in a final report to FIFA’s executive committee . . . at the next regularly scheduled meeting” in March.
Whether that will satisfy critics of FIFA’s ISL tangle remains open to question. One insoluble difficulty is that, at the time, no effective ethics controls were in place and retrospective disciplinary action would thus be rendered impossible.
Garcia has been busy in other spheres in his attempt to clean up the world federation which had become a virtual byword for scandal and corruption through the activities of senior members such as life-banned Mohammed Bin Hammam (Asia & Qatar) and hastily-departed Jack Warner (CONCACAF & Trinidad).
An ‘education tool’ has been built to leave all FIFA officials in no doubt about what is expected of them and a whistleblower hotline – for all corruption issues or concerns – is being connected.
Finally, Garcia has also confirmed he will review allegations and suspicions surrounding the bidding processs for the 2018 and 2022 World Cups which were awarded to Russia and Qatar respectively.
He said: “We intend to conduct a thorough review of those allegations, including the evidentiary basis for and credibility of any allegations of individual misconduct.”
Ethics commission statement
ZURICH: Following a plenary meeting of the FIFA Ethics Committee in Zurich on January 23, 2013, the Chairmen of the Adjudicatory and Investigative Chambers—Judge Hans-Joachim Eckert and Michael J. Garcia, respectively—released the following statement:
Six months since the new FIFA Ethics Committee was established, we are pleased to report progress on a number of fronts.
With respect to implementing the 2012 FIFA Code of Ethics, a demonstration was given of a new E-learning tool designed to educate football officials about the Code, its rules and prohibitions, and the duty to cooperate with the work of the Ethics Committee.
In addition to promoting general education and awareness, the E-learning tool will be used by the Ethics Committee as part of settlements with individuals who may have committed minor or unintentional violations.
For example, the Ethics Committee may require an individual to undergo training and certification before agreeing to close a case without bringing formal charges.
The Ethics Committee also previewed the new whistleblower hotline. The Chair of the Investigative Chamber will have direct access to complaints of Code of Ethics violations, and is authorized to respond with any action he deems appropriate. The system is expected to become operational in early February 2013.
Confidentiality rules, as well as principles of fairness and due process, preclude us from disclosing information about much of our ongoing casework.
We can, however, provide limited updates about three matters that we recognize are of particular interest to the public:
Firstly, proceedings related to the settlement order in the case involving the former FIFA marketing partner ISL are ongoing. When the examination is complete, Chairman Garcia will detail his findings in a final report to FIFA’s Executive Committee, which, as previously reported, referred the matter to the Chairman. It is anticipated that this will occur at the next regularly scheduled meeting of that committee in March 2013;
Secondly, we are responding to recent referrals related to allegations of match manipulation. The Ethics Committee has an important role to play in ensuring that such allegations are properly addressed in order to protect the integrity of the game. The Investigatory Chamber will be making decisions as to formal proceedings on these referrals;
Thirdly, as has been publicly announced, certain allegations regarding events surrounding the bidding for the World Cup 2018 and 2022 were referred to the Ethics Committee by FIFA following media reports. We intend to conduct a thorough review of those allegations, including the evidentiary basis for and credibility of any allegations of individual misconduct.
Finally, we remind the public that Chairman Garcia will review and consider any and all information—concerning the subjects referenced above or any other matter—that he receives.
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Also at www.WorldSoccer.com
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