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IOC to pursue FIFA corruption claims

  • The IOC confirms it will pursue the latest allegations of corruption involving FIFA officials
  • FIFA vice president Issa Hayatou is also an IOC member
  • Hayatou is alleged to have accepted bribes in the 1990s for World Cup rights
  • NEW: Hayatou says he is considering legal action against the BBC

(CNN) -- The International Olympic Committee (IOC) confirmed Tuesday it intends to refer the latest allegations of corruption involving officials of world football's governing body FIFA, to its ethics commission.

According to a report by the BBC, Issa Hayatou -- who is a long-term IOC member, the FIFA vice president and the president of the Confederation of African Football (CAF) -- accepted $15,000 as a bribe in 1995 from a marketing company.

The IOC responded to the claim by requesting the evidence the British broadcaster had gathered on the African executive for further analysis.

"The IOC has taken note of the allegations made by [the] BBC and will ask the program makers to pass on any evidence they may have to the appropriate authorities," the body said in a statement to CNN.

"The IOC has a zero tolerance against corruption and will refer the matter to the IOC ethics commission," the statement added.

The IOC has a zero tolerance against corruption and will refer the matter
--The International Olympic Committee

Cameroonian Hayatou was one of three FIFA officials -- including Nicolas Leoz from Paraguay and Ricardo Teixeira from Brazil -- who were named by the BBC as having taken bribes from the ISL marketing company who went onto secure valuable World Cup rights in the 1990s.

All three are due to cast votes to decide which nations will play host to the 2018 and 2022 World Cups in a ballot at FIFA headquarters on December 2.

Hayatou said Tuesday that he was considering legal action over the BBC claims.

He told Press Association Sport: "This money was not for me it was for the 40th anniversary of CAF.

"At that time ISL was the sponsor of CAF and they give the money to CAF and not to me, and the executive committee of CAF accepted it and approved it."

The latest developments follow the suspension of two other FIFA executive members in November -- Amos Adamu of Nigeria and Tahiti's Reynauld Temarii -- after allegations by British newspaper the Sunday Times that both had accepted bribes for their vote.

In contrast to the IOC's stance, FIFA said that it would be taking no further action.

It is important to stress again that no FIFA officials were accused of any criminal offence in these proceedings
--FIFA statement

"The investigation and the case are definitely closed," it said in a statement Tuesday, adding that the allegations had already been investigated by Swiss authorities.

"In its verdict of 26 June 2008, the criminal court of Zug had not convicted any FIFA officials.

"It is therefore important to stress again the fact that no FIFA officials were accused of any criminal offence in these proceedings."

England's 2018 bid team, who have been concerned that the fall-out from the corruption allegations would damage their chances of hosting the World Cup, claimed the program was "an embarrassment to the BBC."

Worried about a backlash from FIFA members, the bid team wanted the BBC to delay the broadcast until after Thursday's decision, but their plea was refused.

"We stand by our previous position that the BBC's Panorama did nothing more than rake over a series of historical allegations none of which are relevant to the current bidding process," it said in a statement Tuesday.

Michel Platini, the president of European football governing body UEFA, offered England some comfort.

"I don't think this (program) will have an effect, no," he told gathered reporters after a UEFA meeting in Zurich Monday.

But he added: "I think what may affect the decision is the atmosphere going back a long time and what people have been writing about FIFA in the British press for many years."

The 22 members of FIFA's executive committee will be choosing between bids from England, Russia and joint bids by Spain-Portugal and Netherlands-Belgium to decide who will host the 2018 World Cup.

Australia, the United States, Japan, Qatar and South Korea are bidding for 2022.

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