Saturday 14 December 2019

FA chairman Greg Dyke returns £16,400 World Cup watch

Greg Dyke
Greg Dyke

Martyn Ziegler

FA chairman Greg Dyke has confirmed he was given a £16,400 watch by the Brazilian FA during the World Cup but had no idea of its value and will return the gift.

The heads of all 32 qualifying countries and FIFA's executive committee were given the Swiss watches, but FIFA's ethics committee said that accepting such valuable gifts contravenes their rules.

The committee has demanded that all the watches be returned by October 24 otherwise it will launch disciplinary proceedings.

Dyke said the watch was inside a bag and he had intended to give it to charity along with other items.

He said in a statement: "During the FIFA Congress in Sao Paulo, a bag with a watch inside was left in my hotel room by the Brazilian FA. I had no idea of the value and it has been left untouched in my office since returning to England.

"We are already taking steps to return the bag and its contents - which are still in their original packaging.

"I welcome FIFA's investigation on the matter, including their intention to donate the items to good causes back in Brazil.

"The fact that gifts of great value are being handed out randomly and often with the recipient unaware shows up a culture in need of change.

"I had actually set the bag aside in my box of items to donate to charity."

The watches were manufactured by Parmigiani, complete with alligator skin straps, and were given to the 32 association chiefs, 28 FIFA executive committee members, and five other members of South American associations.

A statement from FIFA's ethics committee said: "The CBF should not have offered the watches, and those who received gift bags should have promptly checked whether the items inside were appropriate and, upon discovering the watch, either returned it or... reported the matter to the investigatory chamber.

"The FIFA code of ethics plainly prohibits such gifts. Football officials may not offer or accept gifts that have more than 'symbolic or trivial value'.

"If in doubt, gifts shall not be offered or accepted. Football officials are expected to be aware of the importance of their duties and concomitant obligations and responsibilities.

"In an effort to resolve this matter expeditiously, the investigatory chamber will not pursue further formal ethics proceedings in this matter against officials who submit the Parmigiani watch they received from CBF to the secretariat of the investigatory chamber by no later than October 24, 2014."

It is understood UEFA president Michel Platini is also to return the watch given to him, which is also still in its original box, while Britain's FIFA vice-president Jim Boyce said he was unaware the gift bag had even contained a watch until he was contacted by media this week.

FIFA president Sepp Blatter would also have been on the list of recipients but there was no response from the world governing body about what happened to that watch.

The watches will then be donated to independent non-profit organisations "committed to corporate social responsibility projects in Brazil", said the FIFA ethics committee statement.

Several senior FIFA officials did report the watches to the ethics committee and the CBF confirmed it had distributed 65 gift bags, each containing a Parmigiani watch.

The CBF said it had paid 8,750 US dollars for each watch but that the ethics committee had obtained an independent valuation of 25,000 Swiss francs (£16,400).

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