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Havelange resigns as honorary FIFA president over bribery claims

Havelange stood down after being targeted in the findings of an Ethics Committee set up by FIFA to investigate a scandal involving the now bankrupt Swiss-based marketing agency International Sport and Leisure (ISL) and World Cup television rights.

The Brazilian’s conduct was described as “morally and ethically reproachable” in the report into the affair headed by FIFA’s ethics chairman, Hans-Joachim Eckert.


Former FIFA boss Joao Havelange

Havelange, now 96 and in poor health, is alleged to have taken improper payments during his time serving as FIFA’s seventh president between 1974 and 1998.

The report also accused Havelange’s son-in-law and former FIFA executive, Ricardo Teixeira and Nicolas Leoz, of taking kickbacks.

But while qualifying as bribes, the report stressed that payments received by this trio between 1992 and May 2000 were not crimes at the time.

Havelange’s successor, Sepp Blatter, is said to have known about one payment to ISL destined for Havelange of 1.5 million Swiss francs ($1.6 million), with the report concluding that Blatter’s conduct was “clumsy” but not “criminal”.

Blatter welcomed the report’s findings.

“I have taken note of the report from the chairman of the adjudicatory chamber of the FIFA Ethics Committee, Hans-Joachim Eckert, regarding the examination of the ISL case,” Blatter said in a statement.

“I note in particular that, in his conclusions, chairman Eckert states that ‘the ISL case is concluded for the Ethics Committee’ and that ‘no further proceedings related to the ISL matter are warranted against any other football official’.” 

Key points
>> Bribes were paid to former FIFA prez Joao Havelange, his (former) son-in-law Ricardo Teixeira and Nicolas Leoz between 1992 & 2000.
>> Court documents state Havelange received at least £1m, Teixeira at least £8.4m.
>> Facts around FIFA’s agreement to repay 2.5m Swiss francs to the ISL bankruptcy estate settlement still remain “in the dark”.  

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