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IOC shelves an investigation into former FIFA head Joao Havelange

Tuesday, December 6th 2011 - 13:42 UTC
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Havelange, 95, was a member of IOC for 48 years Havelange, 95, was a member of IOC for 48 years

The International Olympic Committee has shelved an investigation into former FIFA head Joao Havelange after he resigned as an IOC member just days before an ethics hearing into his conduct, IOC President Jacques Rogge told reporters.

The 95-year-old Havelange, head of soccer's world governing body from 1974-98, was under an IOC investigation for his alleged links to FIFA's former marketing agency International Sport and Leisure (ISL) amid allegations of corruption.

Brazilian Havelange, an IOC member for 48 years, sent a letter of resignation to Rogge as the IOC's executive board was preparing to meet to discuss the ethics commission's findings into three members, including Havelange, over their role in the corruption affair that rocked the world of sport.

“Havelange sent me a letter saying that he had lately had health issues and that stopped him from travelling and he considered that due to his age and health it stopped him from travelling regularly” according to Rogge in an interview with Reuters.

“For me the resignation is one based on health and age,” he said, adding that any probe into Havelange was now closed as far as the IOC was concerned.

“Mr Havelange will not be an IOC member any more. Investigations only apply to IOC members. So as Mr Havelange will stop to be an IOC member there will not be an investigation into him as he is a private citizen.”

ISL went bankrupt in 2001 with debts of around $300 million. A BBC Panorama television program alleged in 2010 that Havelange had accepted money from ISL for granting lucrative World Cup contracts.

Two other IOC members, world athletics chief Lamine Diack and Issa Hayatou, are still under investigation linked to the ISL affair with a decision expected by the IOC on Thursday.

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