Hayatou Faces IOC Sanctions; Softball Congress Split About Baseball Alliance

(ATR) Ethics Commission to report next month on African football boss ... Softball president tells Around the Rings the consensus is to keep talking ... China breaks ground on Juan Antonio Samaranch museum.

African Football Boss Faces IOC Sanctions

Issa Hayatou, president of the Confederation of African Football, may be punished by the IOC next month following an ethics probe into bribery allegations related to the ISL scandal.

Hayatou, an IOC member from Cameroon, has been the subject of an IOC investigation after the allegations were revealed in a BBC Panorama documentary aired last December just prior to the FIFA vote on the 2018 and 2022 World Cups.

The exposé by BBC investigative journalist Andrew Jennings into "FIFA's dirty secrets" alleged that Hayatou and two other FIFA Ex-co members – CONMEBOL president Nicolas Leoz and Brazilian football federation chief Ricardo Teixeira – took backhanders in the $100 million scandal involving FIFA's former marketing partner ISL, which collapsed in 2001.

Hayatou was accused of taking 100,000 French Francs (about $20,340), a gift he has always maintained was for his confederation.

The IOC Ethics Commission has been studying the BBC's evidence on the scandal and is close to concluding its investigation into the allegations, according to IOC communications director Mark Adams.

"We are expecting the Ethics Commission to report to the Executive Board in December," he confirmed to Around the Rings.

That means that IOC president Jacques Rogge and his colleagues may punish Hayatou over the alleged kickbacks. The 65-year-old could be suspended by the IOC EB if the ethics panel finds him guilty of bribery.

The IOC meeting Dec. 7 and 8 comes just one week before the FIFA Executive Committee convenes in Tokyo.

As part of his reforms unveiled last month, FIFA president Sepp Blatter said he would reopen the ISL case, a move commended Tuesday by Rogge.

"Sepp Blatter promised to deliver and I believe that he is delivering," Rogge told AP. "I can only applaud the intention to release documents that are creating controversy nowadays. I think that is a very good thing."

For more on the developing story, follow ATRsister site World Football INSIDER.

Softball Congress Split About Baseball Alliance

Concerning a potential alliance with baseball, International Softball Federation president Don Porter tells Around the Rings the consensus of the 25th ISF Congress is simply to keep talking.

"I would say it was somewhat divided," he says, adding that a roughly 60/40 split in favor of a joint 2020 bid emerged last weekend in Oklahoma City.

"We ended up with a resolution to continue our discussions with the International Baseball Federation to explore whether or not it would be feasible or advantageous."

Porter says he caught up with IBAF president Riccardo Fraccari in Houston last week, the latest in a series of joint meetings dating back to March.

"Now we are going to move on to look at working out some details that are not really clear at this point to see what direction we want to take."

Among those is whether a combined bid is even allowed under the Olympic Charter. Plans are in the works to meet with IOC leadership over the potential roadblock.

Porter says he envisions a loose timeline towards 2020 entailing another meeting with IBAF in mid-December and then a decision in early 2012.

"It really isn’t a rush forus to move ahead," he tells ATR.

"There’s still time, but we just want to be sure. It’s not just our own members but we want to see how others feel, including the IOC."

Both sports were dropped post-Beijing but are now among eight shortlisted by the IOC ahead of a 2013 decision. It's expected there will be room for only one to join the program, currently capped at 28 sports.

Ground Broken on Samaranch Museum

Construction is underway on a Chinese museum honoring the life of late IOC president Juan Antonio Samaranch.

The groundbreaking ceremony was scheduled for Wednesday in Tianjin, according to International Boxing Federation president C.K. Wu.

Also the project’s brain trust, Wu showed Around the Rings plans for the 25,000 square-meter building and 80,000 square-meter park on the sidelines of last month’s world boxing championships in Baku, Azerbaijan.

Holm Architecture Office’s ambitious design calls for the five interlocking Olympic rings to function as the museum’s foundation and 204 circles representing each of the IOC member countries to dot the surrounding gardens.

Samaranch is revered throughout China because his tenure as IOC president included Beijing’s successful bid for the 2008 Olympics.

Exhibits will "speak to the legacy of Juan Antonio Samaranch’s work with the Olympic Committee and the impact it has had on China and the world."

The Tianjin-Samaranch Memorial Olympic Museum is slated to open April 21, 2013, ATR is told.

Reported by Mark Bisson and Matthew Grayson

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