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Volleygate – an ongoing battle

October 26th, 2007 by Jon Kristian Fadnes · No Comments

Mario Goijmans struggle against Rubén Acosta has been unfolding for several years. Goijman claims that FIVB’s, Federation International de Volleyball, president Acosta mismanages the organization and hopes to have him dethroned. So far he has not succeeded.

“Volleygate” is in large part the story of two men, Mario Goijman and Rubén Acosta Hernandez. Acosta is the president of the International Volleyball Federation (FIVB), and Goijman, the former head of the Argentine Volleyball Federation. The two fell out over financial issues after the 2002 World Championships hosted in Argentina.

Goijman publicly conveyed that he was not pleased with how the FIVB was run, and questioned how the accounts in the organization were managed. This feud resulted in Goijmans’ expulsion from the FIVB. The volleyball-superpower Argentina was also kicked out of the organization.

Another consequence was that a new code of conduct was introduced for the FIVB. This code in effect states that the president has the authority to exclude any player or leader that criticizes the organization in the media.

Head to head in Lausanne

Goijman would not be silenced, and on December 20. 2002 he filed a criminal complaint before the Criminal Courts of Lausanne, Switzerland, against Acosta as well as FIVB’s general manager Jean Pierre Seppey, for forgery of documents, false information on a commercial enterprise and mismanagement of funds.

The four main accusations made by Goijman were:

- Falsifying the auditor’s report on FIVB’s financial status in 2000 before it was presented to the World Congress in 2002.
- Withholding information about the payment of commissions to the FIVB president for a total amount of 8,32 million SFr.
- Purchasing real estate in Lausanne for 1,7 million SFr whilst hiding from FIVB’s board of administration that the property had belonged to the Acosta family since 1984.
- Failing to record 4,85 million SFr paid by the IOC to FIVB in FIVB accounts.

Most of the charges against Acosta were dismissed by Swiss prosecution, but one made it to the Tribunal de Police in Lausanne: In 2000 the accounting firm Pricewaterhouse Coopers placed a note in the FIVB auditors report that unveiled, that Acosta had personally received more than 8,32 million SFr in commissions for contracts. This note had been deleted when the report was submitted for approval to the FIVBs congress.

During the legal process the Swiss justice system tried to close the case on several occasions, and in the final stages of the trial several of Goijmans witnesses were not allowed to testify.

March 15. 2006 The Tribunal de Police acquitted Rubén Acosta of all the charges brought against him.

The peculiar thing about the ruling is that the Swiss court acknowledged Goijmans claim that accounts had been forged. This just didn’t constitute a crime according to swiss law. Mario Goijman immediately decided to appeal the ruling, but the appeals court declared the appeal inadmissible and rejected it in a ruling 4. May 2006.

The road ahead?

Mario Goijman will speak at Play The Game 2007 on the topic “The Swiss justice: The efficient shield for sport’s corrupted organizations”. We are anxiously waiting to hear what has become of the case since 2006, and what Mr. Goijmans plans for the future are.

What are your thoughts on the “Volleygate”-story? Who do you believe, and what do you think has really been going on? Your comments are welcome.

LINKS:
Mario Goijmans website offers tons of documentation in the volleygate-case

FIVB’s homepage: (http://www.fivb.org/)

NB: Ufortunately Mr. Goijman has fallen ill and will not attend Play the Game 2007 after all. 

Tags: Theme: Autonomy of sport

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