IN A bizarre turn of events, Fifa denied that Issa Hayatou, currently the subject of an International Olympic Committee corruption investigation, had been appointed to oversee next year's Olympic football tournament. The world governing body blamed a "technical error" on their website for an earlier announcement that suggested Hayatou had been installed as chair of the organising committee for the 2012 Games in London.
On Tuesday CAF, the African confederation headed by Hayatou, who is also a a member of the IOC and Fifa's Executive Committee, published news of his appointment via their website. On the same day Fifa sent an email to the World Football Insider website appearing to confirm the move only for a statement to appear on Fifa's website last night claiming no such decision had been reached.
It said: "Due to a technical error, appointments for Fifa Standing Committees have appeared on the Fifa website. The appointments for the chairman and deputy chairman of the Fifa standing committees will be communicated in due course.
"Therefore, Issa Hayatou has not been appointed as chairman of the Organising Committee for the Olympic Football Tournaments."
It has been suggested that Fifa were unaware the IOC investigation into Hayatou was ongoing and is a further blow to the body's already battered reputation. It comes less than a month before Fifa are due to reveal measures to combat corruption within the organisation. Hayatou has been under investigation by the IOC's Ethics Commission since last year following a BBC Panorama programme. Hayatou has always denied claims that he accepted around (pounds sterling)10,000 from ISL, Fifa's marketing arm, in 1995.
But the IOC launched its own investigation in November last year. It has yet to report. An IOC spokeswoman said yesterday: "The Ethics Commission is still pursuing its work. The commission is working independently. As yet we are unable to give a more precise timeline for a conclusion to these investigations."
If the commission, chaired by Youssoupha Ndiaye of Senegal, finds against Hayatou, then he faces being expelled from the IOC. The IOC board next meets in November. Hayatou has been a member of the IOC for the last decade. In 2002 he ran against Blatter for the Fifa presidency - with Uefa's backing - on an anti-corruption ticket. Despite the Panorama allegations, which came on the eve of the controversial vote to select the hosts of the 2018 and 2022 World Cup finals, Hayatou still supported England's disastrous bid.
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