IHF President Moustafa had lucrative private contract with IHF’s TV partner

The highly regarded German news magazine ‘Der Spiegel’ reports in its latest issue that International Handball Federation (IHF) President, Hassan Moustafa, had a private services contract with the sports and marketing company, Sportfive. Sportfive, ‘coincidentally’ is the very same company which had obtained the TV rights to IHF events during the period of Moustafa’s private contract with them. The issue that obviously arises is that of a conflict of interest, with Moustafa apparently profiting substantially (602,000 Euros) from IHF business relations with Sportfive.

Der Spiegel (21 Jan 10): Moustafa had secret agreement with marketing agency: http://www.spiegel.de/sport/sonst/0,1518,673558,00.html

The following is a true translation of the article in ‘Der Spiegel.’

“Hassan Moustafa, the President of the IHF had, through his personal, Cairo-based company ‘Sport Group,’ a contract as an advisor to the marketing firm Sportfive. Under this contract, Sportfive, which had the IHF TV rights until the end of 2009 and thus was the clearly largest business partner of the IHF, paid the IHF top official 602,000 Euro for his lobbying services from October 2007 through the end of 2009. At least half of this payment was transferred to Moustafa at a private account at a branch office of BNP Paribas in the Egyptian town of Gizeh.

As it is specified in the contract, which is available to ‘Der Spiegel’, Moustafa was expected to use ‘his good connections with sports organizations and their decision-makers’ as well as his contacts with media companies exclusively for the business interests of Sportfive. Furthermore, Moustafa should ‘use his best efforts to support the aims of Sportfive to secure the marketing rights for important events’.

Moustafa confirmed the existence of the contract. Also Robert Mueller von Vultejus, the former Managing Director of Sportfive, who co-signed the contract in October 2007, confirmed the procedure. Mueller, who is currently the Managing Director of Ufa Sports, an agency for sports rights, also stated that Sportfive already had a contract with Moustafa in the spring of 2007, but that this contract ‘was slightly modified at the request of Moustafa’ in October 2007. In the revised version, which replaced the earlier one, Sportfive explicitly agreed to refrain from using Moustafa’s ‘good relations with decision-makers’ with regard to handball and to ASOIF, the Association of Summer Olympic Sports. This caveat was missing in the earlier version.

Moustafa informed ‘Der Spiegel’ that he said both a draft and the final, signed version of the contract from October 2007 to the Ethics Commission of the International Olympic Committee (IOC). The Ethics Commission was said to have had no objections. Moustafa was not willing to allow this to be verified. ‘He did not have the right to make this document available’. The IOC informed that Moustafa had not sought ‘the advice of the Ethics Commission’ until some time in 2008, long after the payment of the 602,000 Euro had been transferred.

Moustafa is an important person in international sports politics. His opponents view him as the prototype for disreputable functionaries, who have a court of people ‘saying yes’ and ‘nodding agreement, and a nepotism, where money is moved back and forth in strange ways.

One of the most frequent accusations is that over the years Moustafa has enriched himself to the tune of hundreds of thousands of Swiss Francs through shoddy expense accounting.

But no other issue caused such a worldwide stir as the scandal involving a game in a qualification tournament for the 2008 Olympic Games between Kuwait and the favored team from South Korea. Moustafa ensured that the game would not, as planned, be refereed by two referees from Germany but by two referees from Jordan, who decided all contested situations to the disadvantage of South Korea. Kuwait won the game. The tournament had to be repeated, as the decision of the international sports court, CAS, was: game manipulation. From then on, the accusations of corruption follow Moustafa.”

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The question now is whether and how the IHF Council and the IHF membership will react, upon learning about this well-researched and documented matter. THN will return to this matter and to other recent developments at the IHF with a commentary in the near future.