KEIR RADNEDGE REPORTS: Just at the wrong time for the international aquatics federation the latest sports commissions scandal is coming home to roost.

With the World Swimming Championships about to begin in Budapest, scrutiny has fallen on Kuwaiti Husain Al-Musallam who is not only FINA vice-president but secretary-general of the Olympic Cuncil of Asia and a close associate of sports powerbroker Sheikh Ahmad Al-Fahad Al-Sabah.

The German news magazine Der Spiegel has claimed possession of a recorded five-year-old phone conversation in which Al-Musallam demanded a 10pc commission on $40m worth of sponsorship contracts from a Chinese marketing agent.

This is the second time recently that Al-Musallam’s name has been linke with dubious commissions. Earlier this year he was named in a United States court in an illicit payments case concerning Richard Lai, the then president of the Guam Football Federation.

The revelations led to withdrawal of Sheikh Ahmad, the president of the OCA, from his pursuit of re-election to the governing council of world football federation FIFA.

Sheikh Ahmad remains president of the OCA and of the Association of National Olympic Committees. However he was absent, for reasons for which the IOC could offer no explanation, from last month’s extraordinary session which approved a historic double Games award.

It is understood that Sheikh Ahmad’s role in the US case is currently the subject of preliminary inquiry by the ethics committees of both FIFA and the IOC.

In the meantime he has apparently vanished from sight and thus Al-Musallam has been exposed to criticism and scrutiny.

The issue of commissions to sports officials and directors has been one of the major causes of corruption and scandal within international sport in recent years, notably within FIFA.

Al-Musallam and the OCA, on his behalf, have denied all suggestion of wrongdoing.

In the meantime the FINA presidental election goes ahead in Budapest on Saturday with 81-year-old Uruguayan Julio Maglione being challenged by Italian Paolo Barelli.

OCA statement:

The OCA firmly denies that OCA officials requested commissions for OCA sponsorship deals and confirms that no commission or money was paid to OCA officials, directly or indirectly, for OCA sponsorship deals. All money for sponsorship deals went directly to the OCA. 

The OCA is fully aware of the tape in question and its content and believes that this tape is being used in a politically motivated campaign ahead of the upcoming FINA elections scheduled for 22 July 2017.
The OCA Ethics Committee has determined that there was no wrongdoing or violation of the OCA Ethics Code and Constitution in regards to the allegations made by Richard Lai against OCA President and OCA Director.