African Football Confederation (CAF) chairman Issa Hayatou on Tuesday rejected claims made in a British television documentary that he received secret payments from bankrupt marketing firm ISL.
Hayatou is one of three member’s of world body FIFA’s executive committee members – the others being Ricardo Teixeira of Brazil and South America’s Nicolas Leoz – accused by BBC’s Panorama of receiving money from ISL over a decade ago.
Panorama alleges that Hayatou received 100,000 Swiss francs (100,000 dollars) from ISL before the firm went under.
International Sports and Leisure collapsed in 2001 in a controversy over alleged kickbacks for TV rights contracts.
Hayatou told broadcaster France 24 that ISL had made a 25,000 Swiss franc “solidarity” payment “in the context of the organisation of the CAF’s 40th anniversary.”
He added: “We do not deny that ISL gave the CAF … 25,000 Swiss francs. Nobody is contesting that.
“We do not see that we are concerned by what the BBC is reporting – it is something dating back 16 years. Why did the BBC not reveal that 16 years ago if it had proof of corruption?”
And Hayatou said he had “no fears” that the affair would spill over and affect the attribution of the 2018 and 2022 World Cups in Thursday’s secret ballot of FIFA’s 22-member executive committee.
England 2018 officials earlier Monday condemned the BBC programme, describing it as harmful to the country’s World Cup bid and accusing it of raking over “a series of historical allegations” not relevant to the current bidding process.
Hayatou insisted that: “I have no fears as far as I am concerned” and added that his conscience was clear.
He also said he did not oppose an investigation, as called for by anti-corruption watchdog Transparency International, into corruption concerns.
“If they want to hold an enquiry, who can stop them? We have nothing to hide – if they want to hold an enquiry then let them come and do so. The doors are open.”
Transparency International has called on FIFA to postpone the bidding contest pending an independent probe, warning that FIFA’s decision making processes face being discredited.
FIFA insists the ISL “investigation and case are definitely closed” following an investigation by Swiss authorities which did not convict any FIFA officials.
Panorama on Monday also accused a fourth FIFA executive committee member, Trinidad’s Jack Warner, of attempting to sell World Cup tickets on the black market, expanding on an earlier controversy.