Following the analysis of the final report and investigative files received from the investigatory chamber, and in line with the recommendation expressed therein, the adjudicatory chamber composed of three (3) members has decided that there is insufficient evidence to suggest that Dr D’Hooghe violated any provisions of the FIFA Code of Ethics.
Equally, the adjudicatory chamber is satisfied that no further investigation is needed in this case.
In particular, the investigatory chamber conducted a full investigation in respect of four different allegations that Dr D’Hooghe may have violated provisions of the FIFA Code of Ethics. During these investigation proceedings, Dr D’Hooghe provided answers during an in-person interview, and other relevant parties in possession of possible relevant information and documentation were also contacted. The investigatory chamber analysed all available documents on record and assembled them into the investigative files.
First, in relation to the allegation that Dr D’Hooghe received a painting from the Russia Bid Committee, the adjudicatory chamber is satisfied that the painting has no commercial value, as confirmed by two appraisals, and was offered as a friendly gesture by Mr Vyacheslav Koloskov, a friend of Dr D’Hooghe. The adjudicatory chamber is also satisfied that there is no new evidence that could justify the need for further investigations, since the matter was already assessed in August 2011 by the former chairman of the FIFA Ethics Committee, Mr Claudio Sulser. Therefore, proceedings will not be re-opened in the absence of any new and convincing evidence that a violation of the FIFA Code of Ethics has occurred.
Following the inquiry into the bidding process, the investigatory chamber learned that Dr D’Hooghe appeared to have accepted a trip paid for by a bidding nation. In this context, the adjudicatory chamber is satisfied that, based on investigations conducted by the investigatory chamber, the air travel and other expenses for the trip were in fact covered by FIFA, as it was related to Dr D’Hooghe’s official function as chairman of the FIFA Medical Committee, while the accommodation costs were covered by the bidding nation. The adjudicatory chamber is satisfied that Dr D’Hooghe was unaware that this bid committee had covered his accommodation costs for this trip and, in any case, considers that even if he had been aware, there is no indication that this would have influenced his vote. Therefore, the adjudicatory chamber considers that there is no element justifying the opening of adjudicatory proceedings in this context.
In terms of the allegation that a relative of Dr D’Hooghe was offered employment in Qatar shortly after the 2018/2022 FIFA World Cup™ vote, the adjudicatory chamber is satisfied that this employment relationship was unrelated to the bidding process, that Dr D’Hooghe had no involvement in the discussions leading up to the offer of employment and that there is no concrete evidence indicating that Dr D’Hooghe’s vote was influenced by this relative’s decision to accept employment in Qatar. In view of the foregoing, the adjudicatory chamber considers that the opening of adjudicatory proceedings is not warranted in this context.
In relation to the allegation that Dr D’Hooghe had attempted to help secure a business opportunity in Qatar for the son of a close friend, the adjudicatory chamber is satisfied that there is insufficient evidence to prove that Dr D’Hooghe was in any way involved in these efforts. As such, the adjudicatory chamber is satisfied that there is insufficient evidence to justify the opening of adjudicatory proceedings with respect to this allegation.
The decision was notified to Dr D’Hooghe on 24 February 2015.
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