FIFAGate: Irish FA Publishes Full Contract With FIFA
2155 GMT (5:55 p.m. EDT)
Ireland’s football association has published the full contract of its previously secret deal with FIFA that saw the federation accept millions in cash in exchange for ending protests about Ireland’s controversial loss in 2010 World Cup qualification.
The contract was published after the Football Association of Ireland took a barrage of criticism over its decision to abandon public protest in favor of confidential money. It details a series of meetings involving FAI chiefs and FIFA President Sepp Blatter following Ireland’s 2-1 loss on aggregate to France thanks, in part, to a pivotal handball by Thierry Henry that produced the winning goal.
The document, signed Jan. 15, 2010, by senior FAI and FIFA officials in Switzerland, guaranteed the FAI immediate delivery of 5 million euros (then $7.13 million) on strict condition that Irish officials never revealed existence of the deal.
The FAI also published letters showing the money entering the association’s Dublin bank accounts five days later and being quickly deployed to reduce the association’s stadium-building debts.
The FAI also published a June 2014 letter from FIFA’s deputy secretary general, Markus Kattner, informing the Irish federation that it no longer needed to repay any of the purported loan.
1910 GMT (3.10 p.m. EDT )
Kentaro chief executive Philipp Grothe told The Associated Press on Friday he met with police on May 27. On the same day, documents and computer data were seized at FIFA headquarters for the same probe.
Grothe said in a telephone interview: “We have always cooperated and will continue to do so.”
The Swiss attorney general’s office is working alongside a separate U.S. investigation of corruption in soccer.
The Swiss case began when FIFA made a criminal complaint last November about the World Cup hosting contests won by Russia and Qatar. The complaint included a report by FIFA’s then-ethics prosecutor Michael Garcia, who investigated payments related to the November 2010 friendly match in Doha.
A FIFA-published summary of Garcia’s report raised concerns about payments to the Argentina Football Association, then led by FIFA finance committee chairman Julio Grondona.
The FIFA summary noted that “an entity wholly owned by a Qatari business conglomerate financed the event,” played two weeks before the World Cup vote.
1619 GMT (12:19 p.m. EDT)
Carlos Chavez, the president of the Bolivian football federation, was stopped by police while trying to depart Bolivia for Paraguay to attend a meeting of the governing body of South American football, known as CONMEBOL.
Bolivian President Evo Morales has asked that Chavez and other officials of Bolivian football be investigated in connection with the spreading FIFA bribery scandal.
Chavez was eventually permitted to board the flight for Asuncion.
Jerjes Justiniano, a lawyer for the federation, said Friday that Chavez was freed because police “didn’t have an order related to the detention.”
Eugenio Figueredo, a current FIFA vice president and the former president of CONMBOL, is among seven top football officials being held by Swiss police in connection with FIFA scandal.
1419 GMT (10:19 a.m. EDT)
A South African newspaper has published a 2007 letter linking the country’s chief World Cup organizer to a $10 million payment made to projects linked to Jack Warner, then a FIFA executive and now a suspect in a corruption probe.
In the letter published Friday by the Mail and Guardian newspaper, Danny Jordaan, then head of South Africa’s World Cup organizing committee, says the money should be paid by FIFA, not the South African government.
U.S. investigators have accused unnamed South African officials of channeling $10 million through FIFA to Warner as a bribe for backing the country’s successful World Cup bid.
South African Sports Minister Fikile Mbalula has acknowledged the existence of Jordaan’s letter but says South Africa was not involved in bribery.
1350 GMT (9:50 EDT)
Lennart Johansson, who lost to Sepp Blatter in 1998 FIFA presidential election, says the 79-year-old Swiss official should not delay his departure.
The election for a new president is not expected to take place until at least December.
“He must go immediately,” Johansson said Friday. “People want us to be clean. You are seeing when he turned up at any match they were booing him. They really showed they were not satisfied.”
Blatter said he would stand down as president on Tuesday, only four days after winning a fifth term amid criminal investigations into FIFA executives.
“I think the investigation going on has told him that they will find out exactly what was done and by whom,” said Johansson, a former UEFA president.
1225 GMT (8:25 a.m. EDT)
FIFA has corrected its own statement about the previously secret payment five years ago to the Irish soccer federation.
FIFA originally said it was a $5 million loan that was written off, but now the governing body says it was 5 million euros ($7.1 million in January 2010).
1030 GMT (6:30 a.m. EDT)
The head of the German soccer federation says FIFA should not have given $5 million to Ireland to silence complaints about the handball which led to the country missing out on the 2010 World Cup.
FIFA only disclosed the payment on Thursday.
FIFA and the Irish soccer federation had not previously mentioned the deal, which came after a World Cup playoff in 2009 when Thierry Henry’s handball led to France’s winning goal.
German soccer federation president Wolfgang Niersbach told ZDF television on Friday that the handball “was a real injustice” and accepted the Irish were “outraged.”
But Niersbach says “you cannot compensate it with money and no court would have ruled in their favor.”
1005 GMT (6:05 a.m. EDT)
The president of the influential German soccer federation, Wolfgang Niersbach, says a new FIFA president needs to be elected sooner rather than later.
“For me it’s incredible the way it happened. You (Sepp Blatter) invite the whole world to a congress, you get re-elected and then four days later you resign, for whatever reason, but it’s not an immediate resignation,” Niersbach told German TV station ZDF.
FIFA said four months are needed to set up the extraordinary congress to elect the new president but Niersbach said “everything needs to go much faster.”
0935 GMT (5:35 a.m. EDT)
FIFA President Sepp Blatter will not attend an Olympic meeting next week in Lausanne, Switzerland.
Blatter, who has been an IOC member since 1999, was invited to Tuesday’s briefing for members by the 2022 Winter Games bidding candidates.
FIFA says Blatter already told the IOC in April he would not be attending and “his plans have not changed.”
As the head of a summer sports federation, Blatter is less committed to attend an event involving 2022 bidders Beijing and Almaty, Kazakhstan.
Still, Blatter would be expected to attend the host city vote on July 31 in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.
FIFA has not confirmed travel plans for Blatter since an American federal investigation of corruption in soccer erupted last week.