Havelange resigns over bribes scandal
By Football News
Honorary FIFA president Joao Havelange has resigned after a report revealed the Brazilian had taken bribes from a former marketing partner.
The report, conducted by FIFA's ethics committee, revealed that the 96-year-old accepted payments from International Sport and Leisure (ISL), a former affiliate of the governing body which collapsed in 2001.
Two former executive committee members, Nicolas Leoz and Ricardo Teixeira, have also been named as having received bribes from the former Swiss marketing company and have since resigned, however current president Sepp Blatter has been cleared of any wrongdoing.
The report read: "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 April 18."
Blatter. 77, has welcomed the news and immediately issued a response to the decision to clear him of misconduct.
"I also note with satisfaction that this report confirms that 'president Blatter's conduct could not be classified in any way as misconduct with regard to any ethics rules'," the Swiss said in a statement.
"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."
However, the report, produced by FIFA Adjudicatory Chamber chairman Hans-Joachim Eckert, deeply criticises Blatter's role in the scandal.
"The conduct of president Blatter may have been clumsy because there could be an internal need for clarification, but this does not lead to any criminal or ethical misconduct," the report continues.
"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."