Following an article in the Swiss newspaper Sonntags-Zeitung on May 10, and a press conference held in Berne on the same day, IIHF President René Fasel and the IIHF council have issued the following statements.
Below is the statement from René Fasel:
The three allegations which I would like to address are:
1. The allegation regarding a consulting agreement between Infront, the IIHF marketing partner, and myself.
2. The allegation of obtaining commissions from sponsorship agreements, related to the IIHF World Championships.
3. The allegation of incorrect conduct regarding the IIHF’s contract extensions with Infront.
These are my comments regarding the three points.
1. The allegation of having a consulting agreement; There has been no consulting agreement between myself and Infront. I have – however – helped a long-time friend to offer his services to Infront and I have privately supported him in the implementation of his mandate. For example, I have helped him with opening doors in the Asian market to get access to the Asian sports network.
Today, I realize that this likely was a case of poor judgment. For this I apologize.
2. Obtaining commissions from sponsorship contracts; This is false. I have never received any commissions or bonuses from sponsorship contracts. The contract negotiations regarding NIKE’s board advertisement – which are mentioned in the article – were negotiated by other IIHF representatives.
3. Incorrect conduct regarding the contract extensions; The activities of the aforementioned friend, were at no point connected with the contract extensions with Infront.
The granting of marketing rights always follows the same procedure. It starts with a small group, which analyzes and compares the various offers, a negotiation follows, and upon the recommendation from the IIHF council, the IIHF congress finally grants the rights.
During this process, several other potential bids are taken into consideration. The Champions Hockey League is a good example of this as Infront actually submitted a bid for the marketing rights to the CHL, but the IIHF contracted another marketing agency.
After an ad-hoc council meeting held in Berne on the same day, the IIHF council released the following statement:
Mr Fasel has reviewed his statement with the IIHF council, following which, and at his instigation, council established a small committee to collect the relevant facts to enable the council to look into the matter with regards to the allegations that have been made against him.
It is standard practice for a board to examine allegations of this nature. It serves to address both the allegations and to fulfill our responsibilities as the governing body of the IIHF.
Statemant from John Furlong, VANOC CEO:
René Fasel has been a long time leader in the world of sport and has been a strong supporter and advisor to me and to our whole organizing committee as we prepare for the 2010 Winter Games. We understand that he supports a decision by the IIHF to investigate recent reports involving him and out of respect for that investigation will refrain from further comment.
René Fasel has also contacted the IOC's Ethics Commission and has made himself available to give any necessary explanations.