FIFA Honorary President Joao Havelange Resigns Due to Bribery Allegations

Tim Daniels@TimDanielsBRFeatured ColumnistApril 30, 2013

Joao Havelange, who was at the center of bribery allegations involving FIFA, has resigned from his post as honorary president. Sepp Blatter, the current president, was cleared of any ethics violations, reports The Guardian.

The report states:

Mr Havelange has long held solely an honorary position, which does not qualify him as an 'official' under the code of ethics. Further, Mr Havelange resigned his position as honorary president effective 18.04.2013.

Blatter also released a statement in which he said the changes put in place should ensure a similar situation does not arise in the future.

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.

The ethics committee's review of the ISL scandal found that three individuals received bribes. The group included Havelange and executive committee members Ricardo Teixeira and Nicolas Leoz, who have also resigned from FIFA.

Blatter was only cited for poor handling of the incident. Adjudicatory chamber chairman Hans-Joachim Eckert did question if, or for how long, Blatter knew of payments from the company to officials.

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 payments (bribes) to other FIFA officials.

The report specifically points toward a £1 million transaction from ISL to Havelange in 1997, which was accidentally sent through FIFA. During the investigation, Blatter told the committee it wasn't believed to be a commission payment at the time.

Finalization of the extended look into the bribery allegations was a key step in the process of recovering from the scandal for FIFA. After receiving clearance of any wrongdoing, Blatter must continue the process of cleaning up the damaged organization.

Havelange was FIFA president from 1974 to 1998. His position since leaving office has only been an honorary role. According to the report, the 96-year-old Brazilian officially left the post nearly two weeks ago, before the final report was released.