By Robbie Blakeley, Senior Contributing Reporter
RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – João Havelange, who was FIFA president for 24 years, has resigned from his post as honorary president over bribery allegations. The 96-year-old was left with no choice after a report explicitly explained how he and former son-in-law and CBF president Ricardo Teixeira accepted illegal payments from the now defunct marketing agency ISL.
FIFA’s ethics committee described the behavior of the Brazilian pair, alongside Paraguayan Nicolas Leoz, as “morally and ethically reproachable”. Leoz had been the president of South American football confederation Conmebol for 26 years, until he resigned last week.
The investigation confirmed ISL paid out significant bribes between 1992 and 2000. The company finally went bankrupt in 2001 owing in excess of US$30 million.
“From money that passed through the ISL group, it is certain that not inconsiderable amounts were channeled to former FIFA president Havelange and to his son-in-law Ricardo Teixeira as well as to Dr Nicolas Leoz, whereby there is no indication that any form of service was given in return by them,” the report said.
Court documents report that João Havelange received over US$1 million and Teixeira more than US$8.5 million. The pair may have received over US$15 million in illegal payments, according to a BBC Panorama documentary.
Ricardo Teixeira, former head of the CBF (Brazilian Football Confederation) and World Cup Local Organizing Committee (LOC), resigned as the head of both bodies last year following months of corruption scandals which refused to be brushed aside. Teixeira had been atop the CBF since 1989.
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