FIFAs ethics chiefs could target old corruption

27 July 2012 03:16

FIFA's ethics committee said on Friday that it has the authority to investigate all allegations of corruption -- new and old -- concerning football's world governing body.

But the newly appointed chairmen of the committee's investigatory and adjudicatory chambers, Michael J. Garcia and Hans-Joachim Eckert, refused to say whether that meant they would consider the past dealings of long-standing president Sepp Blatter.

Revelations about Blatter's predecessor Joao Havelange taking huge bribes from marketing firm ISL -- and his knowledge of the practice -- continue to dog the current president.

Garcia refused to talk about specific cases at a news conference at the world governing body's headquarters in Zurich but said there were "no limitations. between past and future" and no restrictions "at all on what we'll be looking at".

The committee also announced an anti-corruption hotline.

The announcement comes a day after the ethics committee provisionally banned Qatar's Mohamed Bin Hammam from football-related activities for 90 days pending the outcome of a probe into Asian Football Confederation (AFC) finances.

Garcia said the committee planned to launch a "preliminary" inquiry into the events that culminated in Bin Hammam's lifetime ban for allegedly making corrupt payments, which was overturned by the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) last week.

Neither Garcia nor Eckert indicated whether they intended to summon Bin Hammam, although Eckert said that on a general level the ethics committee was bound to hear from anyone accused of wrongdoing, should they wish.

Bin Hammam, former head of AFC, was accused of offering $40,000 in unmarked envelopes to FIFA members during campaigning to unseat Blatter last year, though he claimed the payments were in lieu of gifts and not bribes.

The CAS stopped short of exonerating the 63-year-old, who spearheaded Qatar's successful bid to win the 2022 World Cup, saying only that the case was "not proven" owing to lack of evidence.

Source: AFP