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Possible suspension prompts Havelange resignation from IOC

  • AP, Tuesday, December 6, 2011 1:23 AM

Former FIFA president Joao Havelange has ended nearly a half-century of Olympic Games influence by leaving the IOC under a cloud of corruption allegations. The resignation of Havelange, 95, from the IOC was confirmed by the Olympic body and FIFA on Monday, three days before he faced possible suspension for allegedly taking kickbacks as president of FIFA.

He joined the IOC in 1963 and was its longest-standing member. Havelange, a former Olympic swimmer and water polo player, served as FIFA president from 1974 to 1998 before being succeeded by Sepp Blatter.

The IOC's executive board was preparing a ruling on claims that Havelange took a $1 million kickback from World Cup marketing deals while FIFA president. FIFA said in a statement to the AP on Monday that the IOC closed its ethics case against Havelange in the wake of his resignation. Havelange has been under investigation by its ethics commission for allegedly receiving a $1 million payment from former FIFA marketing partner ISL.

A two-year suspension, or even possible expulsion, for Havelange was expected to be considered at Thursday's meeting in Lausanne, Switzerland. He is accused of taking kickbacks from ISL, which controlled World Cup television rights granted by FIFA before the company collapsed in 2001 with debts of $300 million.

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