A Parliamentary Assembly debate tomorrow will highlight allegations of irregular payments made to members of world football authority FIFA.
Members of the assembly will discuss a report on the ‘Fédération Internationale de Football Association’ (FIFA) authored by François Rochebloine.
In his update to the original report “Good governance and ethics in sport,” Rochebloine publishes the full testimony given by Thomas Hildbrand, the Swiss special prosecutor who handled the 2001 collapse of ISMM/ISL, to the assembly’s Committee on Culture, Science, Education and Media,at a closed hearing in Paris earlier this year.
Hildbrand provided detailed breakdowns of payments made to two persons whom he does not name for legal reasons, though he states “both were top officials of FIFA and one still is.”
In the updated report, Rochebloine is directly critical of FIFA President Sepp Blatter. He writes: “Blatter was Technical Director of FIFA from 1975 to 1981, FIFA General Secretary from 1981 to 1998 and has been its President ever since. Since FIFA was aware of significant sums paid to certain of its officials, it is difficult to imagine that Blatter would not have known about this.
“That does not mean that he was directly involved in this case of backhanders. But I believe it is extraordinary that he did nothing to make public all the information which FIFA had or has, and took no steps whether internally or via the courts to enable FIFA to obtain reparation.
“As Hildbrand clearly explained, FIFA was accused as an undertaking under Swiss law, but it was also a victim: the money paid under-the-counter to certain unscrupulous officials should have been paid to FIFA.
“The money managed by FIFA is money that belongs to football and not to its officials, but in addition no sports organisation can become a place where the law does not apply and where corruption and fraud are in practice tolerated and go unpunished. What is at issue here is compliance with the rule of law.”
The full report – including the new addendum – now goes forward for debate by the plenary Assembly, which brings together 318 parliamentarians from the 47 Council of Europe member states, at 10h (CET).
Following the debate Rochebloine and the author of a separate report on combating match-fixing, will give a joint press conference (13h30 (CET) on Wednesday 25 April, Room 1, Palais de l’Europe, Strasbourg).
Report: Good governance and ethics in sport
Report: Good governance and ethics in sport – original
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