July 16 (Reuters) - The International Olympic Committee will discuss the bribery affair involving former top FIFA officials at its executive board meeting in London this week but ruled out any sanctions against former member Joao Havelange.
A Swiss prosecutor said in a legal document released last week that former FIFA president and IOC member Havelange and former FIFA executive committee member Ricardo Teixeira took multi-million bribes on World Cup deals in the 1990s from the now defunct sports marketing body ISL.
Current FIFA president Sepp Blatter, who is also an IOC member, has denied any knowledge at the time.
“I expect them to be discussed at the executive board, of course,” IOC president Jacques Rogge said in a conference call on Monday.
He ruled out, however, any sanctions against Havelange, who was the oldest IOC member when he resigned in December days before facing an ethics hearing.
Rogge also said by resigning, Havelange was no longer part of the Olympic family, neither as a member nor as an honorary member.
“Mr Havelange is not any more a member and he does not fall under IOC rules. That goes without saying. Mr Havelange has resigned as member and he is not eligible to become honorary member.”
ISL sold the commercial rights to broadcast World Cup tournaments on behalf of FIFA. It collapsed with debts of around $300 million in 2001.
Blatter, who has been with FIFA since 1975, and succeeded Havelange as president in 1998, said last week he knew that payments were being made. He referred to them as “commission” and said they were not illegal at the time.
Asked in a question-and-answer session with FIFA’s website (www.fifa.com) on Thursday if he had known of payments, Blatter replied: ”Known what? That commission was paid? Back then, such payments could even be deducted from tax as a business expense.
“Today, that would be punishable under law. You can’t judge the past on the basis of today’s standards.”
Havelange is still FIFA’s honorary president while Teixeira quit his post earlier this year, shortly after resigning as president of the Brazilian Football Confederation (CBF). (Reporting by Karolos Grohmann; Editing by John Mehaffey)