Switzerland’s Supreme Court has ordered the release of a document identifying which senior football officials took millions of dollars in payments from the ISL agency, FIFA’s marketing partner until it collapsed into bankruptcy 11 years ago.
The Swiss Federal Tribunal said a panel of five judges ruled it was in the public interest for five media organizations to get copies of a Zug cantonal (state) court settlement document which closed a criminal probe of the ISL case in May 2010.
‘’The names of the persons concerned, and personal and financial circumstances taken into account by the authorities, must equally be divulged to reporters,’’ the court said in a statement.
The officials, who had appealed to Switzerland’s highest court to block publication, are widely reported to be former FIFA president Joao Havelange and his former son-in-law Ricardo Teixeira.
The Zug court document details which officials repaid $6.1m on condition their identities remain secret.
FIFA said it would issue a statement on the case later Wednesday.
Soccer’s world governing body helped broker the anonymity deal, and also was party to earlier appeals to block publication until dropping out of the case last December.
FIFA President Sepp Blatter said in October that he wanted to release the ISL dossier, even as his organization was still seeking to deny reporters access to its contents.
Though Blatter is believed to be named in the reported 41-page document, as FIFA’s longstanding secretary general at the time ISL controlled World Cup rights sales, he is not suspected of receiving payments.
Still, the ISL affair has clouded much of his 14-year FIFA presidency, and seeking closure has become central in his promised mission to improve FIFA’s image and governance.
The five media parties, including Handelszeitung reporter Jean-Francois Tanda and British state broadcaster the BBC, want to establish if the soccer officials were given preferential treatment under Swiss law, and if other FIFA staff were aware of the unethical payments.
The journalists won a ruling last December when a court in Zug said publication was in the public interest.
The two unnamed officials, identified in federal court documents as ‘B2’ and ‘B3’, then appealed to the federal court.