IOC asks BBC to give evidence to authorities

BERLIN - The International Olympic Committee (IOC) will check evidence from a BBC programme for any potential role of IOC members in an alleged bribery affair involving world football body FIFA executives, it said on Tuesday.

The IOC has urged the BBC to send the evidence to authorities and has referred the matter to its own Ethics Commission.

The television programme, broadcast on Monday, said FIFA members Ricardo Teixeira of Brazil, hosts of the next World Cup, Confederation of African Football (CAF) chief Issa Hayatou, an IOC member, and South American (CONMEBOL) head Nicolas Leoz took bribes from a marketing company to help it win a lucrative contract.

The company, International Sports and Leisure (ISL), went bankrupt in 2001.

The three men are members of the FIFA executive committee which will decide on Thursday which countries host the 2018 and 2022 World Cups.

"The IOC has taken note of the allegations made by BBC Panorama and will ask the programme makers to pass on any evidence they may have to the appropriate authorities," the IOC said in a statement.

"The IOC has a zero tolerance against corruption and will refer the matter to the IOC Ethics Commission."

Hayatou, from Cameroon, has been an IOC member since 2001 and sits on its Women and Sport commission. He was also a member of the coordination commission that monitored preparations for the 2008 Beijing Olympics.

IOC MEMBERS

An IOC official said the Olympic body would look into any evidence given to them to check if there was any potential involvement of IOC members.

"At this stage we will consider any evidence that is forthcoming. It would not be an 'investigation' at this stage but we would of course look at any evidence sent to us," the official said.

The IOC is sensitive to corruption allegations after its reputation was severely damaged by the bribery scandal of the 2002 Salt Lake City Games where gifts were exchanged for votes in favour of the U.S. city.

Several IOC members were expelled and others reprimanded, and the organisation has banned travel by its members to candidate cities since then.

England, Russia, Spain/Portugal and Belgium/Netherlands are bidding to host the 2018 World Cup, with United States, Japan, Australia, South Korea and Qatar the candidates for 2022.

FIFA's executive committee, which holds exclusive voting rights in the contest, has already lost two of its 24 members after they were suspended earlier this month for offering to sell their votes to undercover newspaper reporters from Britain's Sunday Times newspaper.


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