News 25th February 2015

FIFA clears Dr. Michael D’Hooge

The Adjudicatory Chamber of the FIFA Ethics Committee has found that there is insufficient evidence to conclude that Dr. Michael D’Hooge (pictured) violated the FIFA Code of Ethics during the bidding process for the 2018 and 2022 FIFA World Cups. In its statement clearing D’Hooge, FIFA also confirmed that the four allegations made involving him in relation to the bidding process were true, but that D’Hooge was not guilty of any wrongdoing.

D’Hooge did receive a painting from the Russian Bid Committee, however FIFA was satisfied that the painting ‘has no commercial value’ and was offered by a friend of D’Hooge as a ‘friendly gesture’. FIFA paid for D’Hooge to travel to a bidding nation as part of ‘D’Hooge’s official function as Chairman of the FIFA Medical Committee’, however D’Hooge was unaware that the Bid Committee had covered his accommodation costs for the trip and, ‘even if he had been aware, there is no indication that this would have influenced his vote’.

D’Hooge son was offered employment in Qatar after the vote, but the Adjudicatory Chamber ‘was satisfied that this employment relationship was unrelated to the bidding process’, and D’Hooge’s vote was not influenced by this. The son of a close friend of D’Hooge did ‘secure a business opportunity’ after the vote, however FIFA was satisfied that there was no evidence to suggest that D’Hooge knew about or was involved in either of these situations.

D’Hooge has been a FIFA Executive Committee member for 27 years. His native country, Belgium, lost out in the bidding process for the 2018 and 2022 as part of a joint bid with the Netherlands.

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