x Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 28 July 2017

Fifa dismisses allegations made against members

Fifa has dismissed allegations made by a BBC television programme against three executive committee members, saying Swiss authorities had already investigated and the case had been closed.

Fifa has dismissed allegations made by a BBC television programme against three executive committee members, saying Swiss authorities had already investigated and the case had been closed.

The BBC's Panorama programme on Monday offered what it said was new evidence over Fifa's appointment of International Sports and Leisure (ISL) as its marketing arm. ISL went bankrupt in 2001.

The programme said the members Ricardo Teixeira of Brazil, hosts of the next World Cup in 2014, Issa Hayatou, the Confederation of African Football (CAF) chief, and South American (CONMEBOL) head Nicolas Leoz took bribes from ISL to win the lucrative contract.

"The matters concerning the case ... which are referred to date back many years ago and were investigated by the relevant authorities in Switzerland," said Fifa in a statement yesterday. It added that a criminal case in the Swiss canton of Zug had not resulted in convictions for any Fifa officials.

"In its verdict of 26 June 2008, the Criminal Court of Zug had not convicted any Fifa officials," said the statement. "It is therefore important to stress again the fact that no Fifa officials were accused of any criminal offence in these proceedings ... The investigation and the case are definitely closed."

Teixeira, Leoz and Hayatou are members of the Fifa executive committee which will decide tomorrow which countries host the World Cups of 2018 and 2022. All have denied any wrongdoing. The latest allegations are based on what the BBC said was a confidential ISL document which detailed 175 secret payments between 1989 and 1999.

Hayatou is also a member of the International Olympic Committee (IOC) and that body said it would refer the matter to its Ethics Commission.

"The IOC will ask the programme makers to pass on any evidence they may have to the appropriate authorities," it said.

Hayatou, from Cameroon, yesterday said that it was not a bribe but a payment by CAF's former sponsors approved by the confederation's executive committee. "This money was not for me it was for the 40th anniversary of CAF," he said. Hayatou said he was now considering legal action against Panorama.