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Former FIFA President Joao Havelange Reportedly Took Millions in Bribes

Richard Langford@@noontide34Correspondent IJuly 11, 2012

RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL - JULY 30: FIFA Honorary President Joao Havelange (R) sits with his wife during the Preliminary Draw of the 2014 FIFA World Cup on July 30, 2011 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.  (Photo by Michael Regan/Getty Images)
Michael Regan/Getty Images

A Swiss prosecutor is alleging that former FIFA president Joao Havelange and senior executive committee member Ricardo Teixeira made a boatload of cash by accepting bribes from the company that held the TV rights to the 2002 and 2006 World Cup. 

The Guardian's David Conn passed along this information gathered from a court order, which the prosecutor published in the Swiss canton of Zug, documenting a settlement from prosecutions against the accused pair in 2010. 

Havelange and Teixeira faced embezzlement charges, but that matter became moot when they paid a settlement.  

Conn reports that the pair was found to have received the bribes from the marketing company ISL and adds that, in 1997, Havelange gave ISL exclusive marketing rights to FIFA. Also, in 1998, ISL was awarded the exclusive TV and radio rights to the 2002 and 2006 World Cup. 

To get these rights, ISL paid FIFA 200 million Swiss francs for the marketing and 1.4 billion for the TV rights.

Conn goes on to state that Havelange and Teixeira were given 41 million Swiss francs over eight years as a "side payment" for this. 

That is not the whole story about the alleged bribes ISL was paying, either. Conn states ISL made payments of 37 million Swiss francs via a separate company to "individuals and decision makers of global sports." And none of these is the most damning thing of all. 

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Check out this quote, posted by Conn, from the report: 

The finding that Fifa had knowledge of the bribery payments to persons within its organs is not questioned. This is firstly because various members of the executive committee had received money, and furthermore … a [1m Swiss francs] payment made to João Havelange was mistakenly directly transferred to a Fifa account.

That is the real problem and everlasting stain of these bribes. They can't be pinned on just a couple of individuals. This was a failure of the entire governing body. Credibility will not recover quickly from those kinds of allegations. 

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