D'Hooghe cleared of ethics code breaches

FIFA official Dr Michel D'Hooghe has been cleared of any breaches of the governing body's code of ethics in relation to the bidding process for the 2018 and 2022 World Cups.

The Belgian - chairman of FIFA's medical committee - faced a number of allegations over his conduct in the build-up to the tournaments being awarded to Russia and Qatar respectively.

But a statement released by the FIFA Ethics Committee's adjudicatory chamber on Tuesday cleared D'Hooghe of any wrongdoing.

It read: "First, in relation to the allegation that Dr D'Hooghe received a painting from the Russia Bid Committee, the adjudicatory chamber is satisfied that the painting has no commercial value, as confirmed by two appraisals, and was offered as a friendly gesture by Mr Vyacheslav Koloskov, a friend of Dr D'Hooghe.

"Following the inquiry into the bidding process, the investigatory chamber learned that Dr D'Hooghe appeared to have accepted a trip paid for by a bidding nation. In this context, the adjudicatory chamber is satisfied that, based on investigations conducted by the investigatory chamber, the air travel and other expenses for the trip were in fact covered by FIFA, as it was related to Dr D'Hooghe’s official function as chairman of the FIFA Medical Committee, while the accommodation costs were covered by the bidding nation.

"The adjudicatory chamber is satisfied that Dr D'Hooghe was unaware that this bid committee had covered his accommodation costs for this trip and, in any case, considers that even if he had been aware, there is no indication that this would have influenced his vote.

"In terms of the allegation that a relative of Dr D'Hooghe was offered employment in Qatar shortly after the 2018/2022 FIFA World Cup vote, the adjudicatory chamber is satisfied that this employment relationship was unrelated to the bidding process, that Dr D'Hooghe had no involvement in the discussions leading up to the offer of employment and that there is no concrete evidence indicating that Dr D'Hooghe’s vote was influenced by this relative’s decision to accept employment in Qatar.

"In relation to the allegation that Dr D'Hooghe had attempted to help secure a business opportunity in Qatar for the son of a close friend, the adjudicatory chamber is satisfied that there is insufficient evidence to prove that Dr D'Hooghe was in any way involved in these efforts."