Acting FIFA president Issa Hayatou insists there is no basis to allegations that he has previously been guilty of corruption.
Speaking at the FIFA Executive Committee media briefing, in which proposed reforms to the structure of world football’s governing body were outlined, the 69-year-old was adamant he has never accepted illicit payments in relation to World Cup bidding processes.
FIFA was dealt a further blow prior to the event when Alfredo Hawit, president of CONCACAF, and Juan Angel Napout, president of CONMEBOL, were arrested in Zurich on suscpicion of taking bribes.
Responding to questions over whether the timing of the ExCo’s briefing was appropriate given the arrests, Hayatou said: “FIFA does not control justice, as you know very well. They [Swiss and American officials] are conducting their investigations, we’re undertaking our reforms. We cannot say we can’t carry those out because of their investigations.”
In response to a further question about whether he himself was corrupt, he added: “I would not be here if I were corrupt.
“I’ve never received a single dollar or Euro from anybody to vote for any organisation.
“We have individuals who have shown a negative behaviour so do not generalise.”
Hayatou was sanctioned by the International Olympic Committee (IOC) in 2011 after admitting receiving payments from FIFA’s former marketing partner ISL
When queried over whether he was the right figure to lead FIFA up until the electoral congress in February based on the IOC’s decision, Hayatou insisted the payment in question was made to CAF as part of the celebrations for the association’s 40th anniversary.
“The IOC sanction, I have no idea why I was sanctioned. Go to the IOC and ask them what it was all about,” said the CAF president.
“They gave us, I think, 100,000 French francs, $16,000 then. That went straight into the CAF finances. Everybody has seen that.
“The IOC blamed me for that but I didn’t take a cent, so this was a support payment for the 40 year anninversary of CAF.
“It had nothing to do with race or whatever they said. They saw in the records this money had been properly registered and still they sanctioned me.”
Hayatou underwent successful kidney transplant surgery last month and appeared to fall asleep during the presentation from Reform Committee president Francois Carrard. He insists, however, he is fit to lead the organisation, at least until a new president is elected in February.
He said: “I have some small health problems but I am up to the task of being acting president of FIFA.
“Don’t see today’s situation in an isolated way.”