x Abu Dhabi, UAEThursday 18 January 2018

Hayatou to face IOC investigation over alleged payments

The International Olympic Committee will open an ethics investigation into Issa Hayatou over allegations the African soccer official took kickbacks from FIFA's former marketing agency.

The International Olympic Committee (IOC) will open an ethics investigation into Issa Hayatou over allegations the Fifa vice president took kickbacks from Fifa's former marketing agency.

Hayatou, the Cameroonian president of Africa's soccer confederation, has been an IOC member since 2001.

BBC's Panorama alleged he was given a bribe worth about $20,000 (Dh73,000) in 1995 by the now-defunct marketing company ISL. Two other Fifa executive committee members were also accused of receiving bribes.

The IOC said in a statement: "The IOC has taken note of the allegations made by BBC Panorama and will ask the programme makers to pass on any evidence they may have to the appropriate authorities. The IOC has a zero tolerance against corruption and will refer the matter to the IOC ethics commission."

The IOC ethics commission has the power to recommend suspension or expulsion of members accused of misconduct.

The panel was set up in the wake of the Salt Lake City bribery scandal in the late 1990s. Ten IOC members resigned or were expelled for accepting cash, scholarships and other inducements from leaders of the winning bid for the 2002 Winter Olympics.

Since then, the IOC has suspended several members implicated in corruption cases.

The IOC's ruling executive board next meets in January in Lausanne.

Fifa, meanwhile, have released a statement insisting the Panorama documentary had simply covered old ground.

The statement read: "The matters concerning the case "ISL/ISMM" which are referred to date back many years ago and were investigated by the relevant authorities in Switzerland.

"In its verdict of 26 June 2008, the Criminal Court of Zug had not convicted any Fifa Officials. It is therefore important to stress again the fact that no Fifa officials were accused of any criminal offence in these proceedings.

"Furthermore, it is important to recall that the decision was made on matters which took place prior to the year 2000 and there has been no court conviction against Fifa. The investigation and the case are definitely closed."