Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : May 1st 2013 Contents A53
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Despite being labelled "clumsy" for his
part in one of Fifa s biggest corruption scan-
dals, Sepp Blatter was cleared of any criminal
or unethical wrongdoing in a case involving
millions of dollars in bribes for World Cup
The reputation of Blatter's predecessor as
Fifa president, Joao Havelange, was further
damaged, however. The 96-year-old Brazilian,
who led Fifa from 1974-98, was forced to step
down as honourary president due to his
involvement in the case.
A report issued yesterday by Fifa ethics
court judge Joachim Eckert said Havelange's
conduct had been "morally and ethically
reproachable" for accepting bribes from ISL
from 1992-2000, along with his former son-
in-law, Ricardo Teixeira, and then-South
American football confederation president
Blatter, who took over from Havelange in
1998 and served as general secretary before
that, got off more lightly despite questions of
whether he should have known about the
"The conduct of president Blatter may have
been clumsy because there could be an internal
need for clarification, but this does not lead
to any criminal or ethical misconduct," the
According to the judgment, then-Fifa general
secretary Blatter forwarded to Havelange in
May 1997 a 1.5 million Swiss franc payment
from ISL which was mistakenly sent to a Fifa
Havelange resigned as honourary president
on April 18, but his decision had not been
made public until now. Leoz resigned last
week, citing health reasons, while Teixeira
resigned last year from football, including as
head of the Brazilian organising committee
for the 2014 World Cup and as a Fifa board
Eckert said their conduct pre-dated Fifa's
current ethics code, which came into force
last year, and was not relevant to the case.
And because both Havelange and Leoz have
stepped down, he noted that "any further
steps or suggestions are superfluous."
"However, it is clear that Havelange and
Teixeira, as football officials, should not have
accepted any bribe money, and should have
had to pay it back since the money was in
connection with the exploitation of media
rights," the judgment said.
Blatter said he received the verdict on his
own role "with satisfaction," but acknowledged
the case has "caused untold damage to the
reputation of our institution."
"There are ... no indications whatsoever
that president Blatter was responsible for a
cash flow to Havelange, Teixeira or Leoz, or
that he himself received any payments from
the ISL Group, even in the form of hidden
kickback payments," the ruling said.
"It must be questioned, however, whether
president Blatter knew or should have known
over the years before the bankruptcy of ISL
that ISL had made payments (bribes) to other
Sylvia Schenk, senior advisor for sports for
the anti-corruption watchdog Transparency
International, said she was amazed that Blatter
allowed the scandal to occur under his nose.
"He can't be so stupid to think, This has
nothing to do with me,'" Schenk said.
"He should have thought there was some-
thing wrong ... and looked into the details."
Eckert based his judgments on a 4,000-
page investigation report submitted by Fifa
ethics prosecutor Michael J. Garcia.
Havelange and Teixeira were formally iden-
tified last July for taking bribes, when Switzer-
land's Supreme Court ruled that a Swiss crim-
inal prosecutor's report on the case should be
made public. Fifa, Havelange and Teixeira had
tried to suppress it.
Havelange also resigned in 2011 as a member
of the International OIympic Committee to
avoid sanctions stemming from his role in the
ISL was created in the 1970s and helped
fuel the boom in sports marketing, while also
working closely with the IOC.
Swiss prosecutor Thomas Hildbrand wrote
in a case dossier that the agency funneled
money through Liechtenstein to pay commis-
sions to officials "favored in order to promote
sports policies and economic goals."
Six former ISL executives stood trial in 2008
and were cleared of charges relating to fraud.
The most prominent ISL executive, Jean-
Marie Weber, is still listed as a marketing
adviser to the Confederation of African Football
on its website. CAF President Issa Hayatou,
a Fifa vice president, was reprimanded by the
IOC in 2011 for accepting $20,000 in cash
from ISL in 1995. He said the money was for
an event to celebrate a CAF anniversary.
In court evidence, Leoz was identified as
having received two ISL payments totaling
$130,000 in 2000. The BBC later reported
that he received further payments of at least
$600,000. Leoz claimed that all of the money
he received from ISL was donated by him to
a school project, but only in January 2008---
eight years after he received it.
Payments attributed to accounts connected
to Havelange and Teixeira totalled almost $22
million from 1992-2000. (AP)
ZURICH---Fifa executive committee member
Vernon Manilal Fernando was banned from
football for eight years yesterday, though the
governing body did not specify which ethics
rules he broke.
Fernando had been a close associate of
Mohamed bin Hammam, who was expelled
by Fifa for a second time last December.
Reports in his native Sri Lanka have pre-
viously alleged misspending of football devel-
opment and disaster relief funds following the
2004 tsunami in the Indian Ocean.
"(Fernando) was found guilty of several
breaches of the Fifa Code of Ethics," Fifa said
after a two-day hearing by its ethics court,
but did not give any further details on the
The Sri Lankan official's ban was imposed
three days before the Asian Football Confed-
eration holds its congress in Kuala Lumpur,
where it can discuss replacing him. Fernando's
expulsion could open the prospect for the
newly elected AFC president tomorrow to
claim a seat on the 25-member Fifa board.
Fifa said Fernando is prevented "from taking
part in any kind of football-related activity at
national and international level."
Fernando was a Fifa employee when he was
elected by AFC member countries in 2011 to
join its executive committee. At the time, bin
Hammam was AFC president.
Fernando had served as Fifa's regional devel-
opment officer in South Asia at a time when
development funds were directed by a bin
The ban is effective retroactively from March
11 this year, when he was suspended to prevent
him from interfering with Fifa's investigation.
Bin Hammam was banned for life by Fifa
for "conflicts of interest" relating to his man-
agement of AFC contracts and bank accounts.
That came after a bribery scandal during his
presidential bid to oust Sepp Blatter, who was
Fernando is the latest Fifa board member
to leave the committee this year, though is by
far the least influential.
United States delegate Chuck Blazer did not
seek re-election after 16 years, and faces an
ethics probe of his time running the Concacaf
South American confederation president
Nicolas Leoz of Paraguay resigned last week,
citing health reasons. He was also under inves-
tigation for taking kickbacks from Fifa's former
marketing agency, ISL, in the 90s. (AP)
SAO PAULO---Gremio coach
Vanderlei Luxemburgo was
suspended for six matches on
Monday because of his
involvement in a brawl
following a Copa Libertadores
match last month.
The South American football
federation also imposed a
$25,000 fine on the former
Real Madrid and Brazil coach,
who received the second-most
severe punishment among
eight sanctions announced
Gremio assistant coach
Emerson Ferreira da Rosa was
suspended for eight matches
and fined $20,000 by the
federation, also known as
The brawl started after
Gremio's 1-1 draw against
Huachipato in Chile on April
18, a result that eliminated
the Chilean team in the
group stage and allowed the
Brazilians to advance to the
round of 16 of Latin
America's most important
Luxemburgo will only be
allowed to return to Gremio's
bench if the Brazilian club
reaches the final.
"In my opinion, the
punishment was completely
unfair," Luxemburgo said at a
news conference. (AP)
Coach banned after match Copa Libertadores brawl
Fifa exec Vernon Manilal Fernando dealt eight-year ban
Joao resigns amid new bribe scandal
Blatter cleared of wrongdoing
This 1996 file photo shows then Fifa president Joao Havelange, left, and then Fifa general
secretary Sepp Blatter attending the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) Congress in Kuala
Lumpur. Havelange has resigned as honourary Fifa president after kickbacks probe, Fifa said
yesterday. AP PHOTO
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