Global sport scandals continue unabated
During the past weeks the world continued to learn of more sporting scandals the consequences of which remain unknown in the contemporary situation where sport is a multi-billion dollar industry.
The fact is that much of what we are hearing about the scandals in sport is not new. Perhaps what has happened is that the international media has become significantly more invasive and revealing in respect of what is happening around the world today.
A BBC news item published on 12 December 1998 revealed that then IOC Executive member, Marc Hodler, stated that there had been voting abuses in the IOC relative to the selection of host cities for the Olympic Games. The article has Hodler saying that there was abuses in respect of the voting for the centennial Olympics celebrate din Atlanta, in 1996 when most people expected Athens to have emerged victorious. Abuses were also evident in the selection of Sydney to host the summer Olympics of 2000 and of course the choice of Salt Lake City to host the winter Olympics of 2002.
It does appear that for one reason or another the IOC did not pay due attention to what was taking place.
The embarrassing revelations surrounding the award of the winter Olympics of 2002 to Salt Lake City in the USA was perhaps a major turning point in the international Olympic Movement. As fingers pointed at the IOC president at the time, Juan Antonio Samaranch, he hastily deflected the criticisms by engaging a major investigation into the dealings of his own IOC colleagues.
As the investigation expanded the global media also took on the challenge and revelations were emerging everywhere.
In February 1999 one media source revealed …One of the organisers of the Sydney Olympic Games has admitted he offered tens of thousands of dollars to members of the International Olympic Committee (IOC) the night before they awarded the games.
John Coates, President of the Australian Olympic Committee and a leader of the Sydney 2000 bid, said he had offered $35,000 apiece to two African members of the IOC.
The article was specific, stating… The money was pledged to the National Olympic Committees of Kenya and Uganda, through their respective IOC members, Charles Mukora and Major-General Francis Nyangweso.
It was also discovered that one member of the IOC sought to have one of his children play with Australia’s Philharmonic Orchestra.
Interestingly, the Australians claimed not to have done anything wrong since they operated within the then rules of the IOC. The article stated … After making the disclosure in a newspaper interview, Mr Coates told a news conference on Saturday that he pledged the money because he felt Sydney’s chances were “slipping away.”
The article further revealed…Mr Coates said the payments were within IOC guidelines and similar to plans used by bidding competitors from Beijing and Manchester.
He denied the money was a bribe and said it would go toward helping sports in Kenya and Uganda.
It should be noted that then IOC Executive Member, Kevan Gosper, rose to the defence of his native Australia. He was quoted as saying… “As far as I’m concerned Sydney won on merit and Sydney acted appropriately and acted in line with the rules,”
Larry Siddons of the Associated Press penned a piece in The Guardian of England dated Wednesday 17 March 1999 which revealed the names of the six IOC members who had been expelled for their involvement in the Salt Lake City scandal…Agustin Arroyo of Ecuador, Zein El Abdin Ahmed Abdel Gadir of Sudan, Jean-Claude Ganga of the Congo Republic, Lamine Keita of Mali, Sergio Santander of Chile and Paul Wallwork of Samoa were believed to be the first IOC members kicked out for corruption in the panel’s 105 years.
Of course while Samaranch led the process of managing the IOC crisis, there were those who felt that he might well have known much more than he was given credit for in respect of the corruption that occurred in the institution under his watch.
President of the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF), Lamine Diack, found himself in some difficulty when the IOC found it necessary to discipline him at the same time that it disciplined the president of the Confederation of African Football (CAF) and former candidate for the presidency of FIFA against Sepp Blatter, Isaac Hayatou, of Cameroun.
Diack was found to have received a total of $41,500 in three tranches from the now defunct ISL, a sports marketing group that did work for the IAAF as it did for the FIFA.
Diack’s explanation as that his home in Senegal was destroyed by fire in 1993 and that the head of ISL at the time was a personal friend who gave the money to assist the rebuilding effort.
For his part Hayatou claimed that he spent the monies received from ISL on the anniversary celebrations of the CAF.
The IOC decisions in respect of both Diack and Hayatou came shortly after former FIFA boss of several years, Joao Havelange, of Brazil, resigned from the IOC given what was expected from the findings of the IOC Ethics Commission relative to his own receipt of monies from the same ISL. Havelange’s decision may well have spared the IOC the burden of acting on the Commission’s report in respect of the former’s conduct.
Diack, Hayatou and Havelange received the monies between 1998 and 1999.
Bowing to pressure FIFA eventually opened its own investigation and the revelation of its own Ethics Committee recently published its report as a result of which Havelange has resigned from FIFA. The report revealed that during 1992 and May 2000 ISL engaged in the systematic bribery of some of FIFA’s leading officials. The reports stated…“It is certain that not inconsiderable amounts were channelled to former FIFA president Havelange and to his son-in-law Ricardo Teixeira [president of the Brazilian Football Confederation] as well as to Dr Nicolas Leoz [President of South America’s football governing body, CONMEBOL], whereby there is no indication that any form of service was given in return.”
Teixeira has long since resigned and in a recent move, so too did Leoz.
The case of Austin ‘Jack’ Warner, former CONCACAF and CFU boss and former FIFA Vice President, of Trinidad and Tobago, has been revealed in great detail in a series of articles written by Carmini Marajh who heads the Investigation Desk at the Trinidad Express newspaper. The revelations have since reached Part 8.
Marajh’s revelations have been out at the same time that the CONCACAF Ethics Committee disclosed its findings, which relied heavily on the forensic audit undertaken by the organization’s new leadership.
Warner has since resigned from the Cabinet of the ruling political regime in Trinidad and Tobago.
Of course Warner resigned from FIFA following the startling revelations of a scandal that took place in Trinidad and Tobago when several Caribbean Football Federations were each in receipt of $40,000 USD cash in envelopes that appeared intended to have them vote in support of Mohammed Bin Hammam in his quest for the presidency of FIFA.
Warner has recently disclosed to the media that … he was personally given the money to build a £4m centre of excellence in Trinidad in return for helping Sepp Blatter’s election as president of the sport’s world governing body.
Warner is said to have revealed…”Blatter was Havelange’s candidate to succeed him for the FIFA presidency. Blatter had been at this time the most hated FIFA official by both the European and African confederations and without my CONCACAF support at the FIFA elections, Blatter would never have seen the light of day as president of FIFA. I told Havelange that, through him, Blatter would get CONCACAF’s total support.”
According to reports Warner delivered CONCACAF’s 30 votes in support of Blatter.
Interestingly, it has not yet emerged what was on offer for getting CONCACAF to support Bin Hammam in the race for the presidency against Blatter in the organisation’s most recent elections.
In respect of Bin Hammam an audit by PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP revealed that he had spent $700,000 from the soccer body’s accounts on himself and his family, including the purchase of $10,000 on a watch made by Bulgari SpA for himself and nearly $5,000 in cosmetic dentistry for one of his daughters. The 56-page summary also listed about a $2,000 outlay on 14 shirts for Blatter (http://topics.bloomberg.com/bin-hammam).
Drugs in sport
In the aftermath of the Lance Armstrong doping debacle much more has been happening in relation to drugs in sport.
Almost every day we receive another twist to the Lance Armstrong doping controversy. The snare spreads across the globe taking in an ever-increasing number of cyclists.
Finally, efforts are seriously being made to extend the reach of the law in doping scandals to the physicians involved. Unfortunately, the reach has somehow slipped past the coaches and trainers.
Dr. Eufemiano Fuentes of Spain has been taken to court following a raid on his office in 2006. At the time the authorities collected over 200 bags of blood, plasma red blood cells as well as additional evidence of his involvement in the treatment of cyclists that broke doping control rules as established by the World Anti Doping Agency (WADA).
The Spanish case that has been labelled, Operation Puerto, focused on the doping of cyclists. However in his evidence to the court Dr. Eufemiano Fuentes revealed that he treated athletes from several different sports, not just cyclists. The list includes tennis players as well as athletes from track and field athletics, boxing and football.
In a recent court ruling the presiding judge, Julia Patricia Santamaria, surprisingly declared that the bags of blood, plasma and red blood cells must be destroyed. She cited Spain’s privacy laws as the reason for her decision. This action has been strongly criticized by WADA as well as the Spanish anti doping body. The latter has already indicated its intention to mount a legal challenge against the ruling.
If the ruling is upheld then WADA and the Spanish anti doping body would lose the very rare opportunity to test the existing samples to identify the athletes from the different sports across the world who may have been among those treated by Fuentes.
There is reason enough to believe that what we are hearing now is just the tip of the iceberg. There seems much more to come.
There remains grave concern that the IAAF itself has never challenged Lamine Diack over the reason the IOC cautioned him. Surely, since he did not raise any challenges to the action taken against him by the IOC, the IAAF should at least have shown some character and raise the issue, even if only to likewise caution him.
As it is Diack simply appears oblivious to the perception that ought to be garnered from what the IOC’s investigations have yielded in respect of himself and the leader of ISL.
The Lance Armstrong case is a fine example.
Despite so much of the cycling world being desirous of keeping McQuaid at the helm of the international federation, UCI, his own Irish Cycling body has refused to nominate him for another term at the helm of the same UCI.
It remains perhaps most amazing that the Irish had the gumption to do what the rest of the cycling fraternity seem hesitant to do.
The world of sport gets more intriguing with each passing day.
Perhaps what we are seeing in sport is but another fine example of the decadence of today’s global society.