With 90-day suspensions handed down to both FIFA President Sepp Blatter and his would-be successor UEFA President Michel Platini on Thursday, a less familiar face will take the reigns of the sullied FIFA organization. And in what might be the most FIFA thing ever, he, too, has been linked to corruption in the past.
That's right, FIFA has decided to temporarily replace its potentially corrupt president with another official who once faced his own corruption scandal.
The man is Cameroon’s Issa Hayatou, the current president of the Confederation of African Football and the “longest-serving vice-president on FIFA’s Executive Committee." He becomes the acting president of FIFA on a technicality -- a result of the governing body’s succession statutes.
Hayatou is just four years removed from his own bribery allegations. In 2011, Hayatou -- along with two other high-ranking officials in the world of international athletics -- was said to have received significant monetary kickbacks in the late 1990s from ISL, a former sports marketing firm.
For his part, Hayatou did not deny having accepted the money, claiming that its receipt was aboveboard. Per a 2011 report from The Guardian, Hayatou "pointed to … a CAF meeting in 1998 and a certificate provided by its finance director … to prove that he used the funds for its anniversary, saying that making cash payments was 'current practice' at that time." The BBC’s Panorama reported that these cash payments amounted to roughly $20,000.
Hayatou was reprimanded for his involvement in the scandal. And now, just four years later, this once-censured FIFA official will take his place in the still-warm seat of the latest soccer figurehead to be ensnared in corruption allegations.
The wheels of FIFA keep on turning.
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