LAUSANNE: Thomas Bach has just been vindicated more thoroughly than even he might have expected over comments he made to FIFA Congress in 2015 writes KEIR RADNEDGE.
Back then the world football federation had just been rocked to its core by the Swiss police’s dawn raids on the Baur au Lac hotel in Zurich and detention of seven of the game’s high-flying executives.
The next evening, at the opening ceremony of FIFA Congress, Bach warned that rooting out a culture of corruption can be a long and painful process.
The German president of the International Olympic Committee was drawing on the experience of the Olympic movement over the Salt Lake City scandal.
Bach said: “We know from experience that this fight is challenging and can be very painful. We also know that there is no other way to ensure credibility. We have seen this in business, in politics and in society.
“Therefore I would like to encourage you to continue and strengthen your co-operation with the relevant authorities to shed full light on these matters and to take all necessary measures within the new structures to address these grave allegations.
“I am confident that, by following such a way of transparency with determination, you will overcome these challenges and you then will make your sport shine once again.”
The IOC’s Salt Lake City scandal focused on bidding to host the 2002 Winter Olympics for which the Utah city had campaigned on four occasions before winning the award in 1995.
After the scandal broke three years later some six members of the IOC were expelled, one resigned and a further 10 were disciplined. Two leaders of the Salt Lake bid committee faced legal action from the United States Justice Department but were later acquitted.
The then IOC president, Spaniard Juan Antonio Samaranch, described the scandal as one of the worst moments of his 21-year tenure.