ZURICH, Nov 30 (Reuters) - African football president Issa
Hayatou denied on Tuesday that he had taken a bribe, as alleged
by a British television documentary on supposed corruption
within FIFA, and said that his conscience was clear.
In a television interview with Reuters, Hayatou said the BBC
programme Panorama had made a false accusation that a payment he
received from FIFA's former marketing partner ISL was a bribe.
Panorama also implicated two other FIFA executive committee
members in receiving alleged corrupt payments from ISL.
Hayatou said the payment he received was for 25,000 Swiss
francs ($25,040) and that it had been a legitimate and approved
payment for the African Football Confederation's (CAF's) 40th
anniversary celebrations in Egypt.
"Panorama wanted to make people believe that we were
corrupt," he said. "What they showed was from 16 years ago. Why
did they not show this before?
"The money was addressed for CAF. The executive committee
knew of it. I asked them if I should accept and they said yes."
Hayatou is in Zurich to vote on the FIFA executive committee
for the host nation for the 2018 and 2022 World Cups.
"Personally, I know no-one can influence me," he said. "I
will vote with a clear conscience."
Hayatou said he could not speak for his two colleagues
Nicolas Leoz of the South American Confederation and Ricardo
Teixeira of Brazil who were also named in the Panorama programme
broadcast on Monday.
"But I have no reason to think they are corrupt," he said.
Hayatou said he would discuss with his lawyers whether he
should sue the BBC but that was a decision for later.
"These accusations have dishonoured me," he said. "I would
not have stayed at the head of CAF for so long if I was
Hayatou added that he had received countless phone calls
from colleagues expressing their support since the Panorama
programme was broadcast. "People know me," he said.
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