Joao Havelange stripping of honorary FIFA presidency to be discussed

Joao Havelange stripping of honorary FIFA presidency to be discussed

PanARMENIAN.Net - The issue of whether to strip Joao Havelange of his honorary FIFA presidency following a kickbacks scandal will be discussed at next month's congress, although his successor Sepp Blatter said Friday, April 5, that no member country has yet proposed such a measure, The Associated Press reported.

Blatter said last July that his predecessor "cannot remain honorary president" after a Swiss prosecutor's report was published confirming that Havelange got millions of dollars from World Cup broadcasting deals in the 1990s.

Then, Blatter said it should be "dealt with at our next congress," which can strip the 97-year-old Brazilian's title. Havelange led FIFA for 24 years until 1998.

The deadline passed last weekend for FIFA members to propose items for their May 31 congress in Mauritius.

"There has not been any proposals on that, but it's on the agenda," Blatter told reporters on the sidelines of a FIFA-sponsored conference about ethics in sport. "There is a point on the agenda which is called 'Honours."'

Asked if he expected Havelange to keep his ceremonial title, Blatter said he did not know "because the interested personality has not yet said anything about that, Mr. Havelange himself."

Havelange could face formal disciplinary action within days for his role in the notorious case of ISL, the Swiss-based marketing agency which sold World Cup television rights before collapsing into bankruptcy in 2001.

FIFA ethics judge Joachim Eckert has an April 15 deadline to recommend action after being presented with 4,000-page report last month by ethics prosecutor Michael J. Garcia.

FIFA asked Garcia last year to study the ISL case, which implicated four past and current members of the FIFA executive committee in taking improper payments. The Swiss court document also suggested Blatter knew about a payment of 1 million Swiss francs to Havelange in 1997.

A Swiss criminal case linked Havelange and his former son-in-law, Ricardo Teixeira, to payments totaling $22 million from 1992-2000. Teixeira resigned his football duties last year, including as head of Brazil's organization of the 2014 World Cup.

Nicolas Leoz of Paraguay, the 84-year-old president of South America's football confederation, reportedly received $730,000 but never faced a FIFA probe. Nor did FIFA Vice-President Issa Hayatou of Cameroon, who was reprimanded by the International Olympic Committee for taking 100,000 French francs ($20,000) from ISL in 1995.

Havelange resigned his 48-year IOC membership in December 2011, days before the Olympic body was set to suspend him in its own probe of the ISL case.

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