João Havelange resigns as FIFA honorary president over bribes, Sepp Blatter cleared of misconduct
Brazilian João Havelange has resigned as FIFA’s honorary president after being cited in a report as having received bribes, reports the Guardian. Havelange ruled the soccer organization for more than 20 years. Two former executive committee members who were also named in the report, Ricardo Teixeira and Nicolás Leoz resigned as well.
The report was conducted by FIFA’s ethics committee and looked into a scandal involving the organization’s former marketing partner International Sports and Leisure (ISL). Payments to the three executives were reportedly made between 1992 and 2000; ISL went bankrupt in 2001.
The report said that current FIFA president, Sepp Blatter, handled the situation in a “clumsy” way but that he did not breach ethics rules.
From the Guardian report:
Blatter immediately issued a statement welcoming the fact that he had been cleared of misconduct. He said: “I also note with satisfaction that this report confirms that ‘president Blatter’s conduct could not be classified in any way as misconduct with regard to any ethics rules’.
“I have no doubt that FIFA, thanks to the governance reform process that I proposed, now has the mechanisms and means to ensure that such an issue – which has caused untold damage to the reputation of our institution – does not happen again.”
Blatter had told the Ethics Committee that he did not know money being transferred was a bribe:
FIFA "Ethics Committee" accepted Blatter's explanation that he forwarded on $1.6m from ISL to Havelange, did not know it was bribe.—
Tyler Duffy (@tyduffy) April 30, 2013