Joao Havelange guilty of taking bribes for World Cup rights but 'clumsy' Fifa president Sepp Blatter escapes

Q & A on the bribery case

Fifa finally published its long-awaited report into the corruption investigation at the top of the organisation, which has led to the resignation of Joao Havelange, 96, one of the leading figures in the history of the governing body.

Sepp Blatter, 77, the current Fifa president, was not found guilty of any misconduct but was branded as "clumsy" in his handling of the case. But Blatter, who succeeded Havelange in 1998, has faced calls to resign after the corruption at the heart of Fifa was exposed by its own ethics committee.

Q. What happened on Tuesday?

A. Hans-Joachim Eckert, chairman of the adjudicatory chamber of Fifa's ethics committee, published his full report into ISL (International Sport and Leisure), a sports marketing company that worked closely with Fifa in the 1990s, buying broadcast rights to Fifa events such as World Cups on multimillion-dollar contracts and selling them on. Eckert's report was based on another by Michael J Garcia, chairman of the investigatory chamber of the ethics committee. Garcia first looked at the case in July 2012. There was no chance of sanctions, as the Fifa code of ethics was only introduced in 2004, after these incidents. But another member of Fifa's ethics committee, Vernon Manilal Fernando, was banned from football for eight years yesterday for breaches of Fifa's code of ethics.

Q. What happened in the 1990s?

A. Eckert's report made clear that ISL was, between 1992 and May 2000, paying bribes to top Fifa officials. "It is certain that not inconsiderable amounts were channelled to former Fifa president Havelange and to his son-in-law Ricardo Teixeira [president of the Brazilian Football Confederation] as well as to Dr Nicolas Leoz [President of South America's football governing body, CONMEBOL], whereby there is no indication that any form of service was given in return." ISL went bankrupt in 2001.

Q. How bad was the corruption?

A. Havelange was Fifa president until 1998 while Teixeira was head of the Brazilian Football Confederation until 2012 and sat on the executive committee. "It is clear that Havelange and Teixeira, as football officials, should not have accepted any bribe money," said the report, which described their conduct as "morally and ethically reproachable". Court documents said Havelange received at least £1m and Teixeira at least £8.4m. Nicolas Leoz was also involved. "He claimed that he donated all of the money he received from ISL to a school project," the report said, "but only in January 2008, eight years after he received it."

Q. What happened to Joao Havelange, Ricardo Teixeira and Nicolas Leoz?

A. Havelange and Leoz, after decades at the top of South American and international football, recently left their posts. Havelange resigned as Fifa honorary president on 18 April. Leoz had been president of CONMEBOL since 1986 as well as sitting on the executive committee. He resigned last week on "health and personal" grounds. With both out of Fifa, the report said further steps would be "superfluous" and the matter was now closed.

Q. What did the report say about Sepp Blatter?

A. It said there were "no indications whatsoever" that Blatter was responsible for bribes or that he received any money. But it added: "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 bribes to other Fifa officials." Blatter, then Fifa general secretary, was informed in 1997 of a £625,000 payment from ISL to Havelange. The report said: "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."

Q. Does that mean he is safe?

A. Blatter has taken the report as vindication. "I 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... means to ensure that such an issue … does not happen again." But Fifa campaigner Damian Collins MP called on the president to quit: "Blatter should resign for his failure to expose the wrongdoing sooner, and to take action earlier against those who had done wrong."

Suggested Topics
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Day In a Page

Isis hostage crisis: The prisoner swap has only one purpose for the militants - recognition its Islamic State exists and that foreign nations acknowledge its power

Isis hostage crisis

The prisoner swap has only one purpose for the militants - recognition its Islamic State exists and that foreign nations acknowledge its power, says Robert Fisk
Missing salvage expert who found $50m of sunken treasure before disappearing, tracked down at last

The runaway buccaneers and the ship full of gold

Salvage expert Tommy Thompson found sunken treasure worth millions. Then he vanished... until now
Homeless Veterans appeal: ‘If you’re hard on the world you are hard on yourself’

Homeless Veterans appeal: ‘If you’re hard on the world you are hard on yourself’

Maverick artist Grayson Perry backs our campaign
Assisted Dying Bill: I want to be able to decide about my own death - I want to have control of my life

Assisted Dying Bill: 'I want control of my life'

This week the Assisted Dying Bill is debated in the Lords. Virginia Ironside, who has already made plans for her own self-deliverance, argues that it's time we allowed people a humane, compassionate death
Move over, kale - cabbage is the new rising star

Cabbage is king again

Sophie Morris banishes thoughts of soggy school dinners and turns over a new leaf
11 best winter skin treats

Give your moisturiser a helping hand: 11 best winter skin treats

Get an extra boost of nourishment from one of these hard-working products
Paul Scholes column: The more Jose Mourinho attempts to influence match officials, the more they are likely to ignore him

Paul Scholes column

The more Jose Mourinho attempts to influence match officials, the more they are likely to ignore him
Frank Warren column: No cigar, but pots of money: here come the Cubans

Frank Warren's Ringside

No cigar, but pots of money: here come the Cubans
Isis hostage crisis: Militant group stands strong as its numerous enemies fail to find a common plan to defeat it

Isis stands strong as its numerous enemies fail to find a common plan to defeat it

The jihadis are being squeezed militarily and economically, but there is no sign of an implosion, says Patrick Cockburn
Virtual reality thrusts viewers into the frontline of global events - and puts film-goers at the heart of the action

Virtual reality: Seeing is believing

Virtual reality thrusts viewers into the frontline of global events - and puts film-goers at the heart of the action
Homeless Veterans appeal: MP says Coalition ‘not doing enough’

Homeless Veterans appeal

MP says Coalition ‘not doing enough’ to help
Larry David, Steve Coogan and other comedians share stories of depression in new documentary

Comedians share stories of depression

The director of the new documentary, Kevin Pollak, tells Jessica Barrett how he got them to talk
Has The Archers lost the plot with it's spicy storylines?

Has The Archers lost the plot?

A growing number of listeners are voicing their discontent over the rural soap's spicy storylines; so loudly that even the BBC's director-general seems worried, says Simon Kelner
English Heritage adds 14 post-war office buildings to its protected lists

14 office buildings added to protected lists

Christopher Beanland explores the underrated appeal of these palaces of pen-pushing
Human skull discovery in Israel proves humans lived side-by-side with Neanderthals

Human skull discovery in Israel proves humans lived side-by-side with Neanderthals

Scientists unearthed the cranial fragments from Manot Cave in West Galilee