By Duncan Mackay in Dubai
British Sports Internet Writer of the Year
April 29 - Rene Fasel (pictured), the President of the International Ice Hockey Federation (IIHF) and an influential member figure in the Olympic Movement, has been officially reprimanded for a conflict of interest over broadcasting rights.
Fasel, who successfully headed the International Olympic Committee's (IOC) Coordination Commission for the Vancouver Olympics, has admitted to helping a friend negotiate a deal with the company controlling the IIHF's television and marketing rights.
The IOC's ruling Executive Board - on which Fasel sits - ruled that he had broken rules converning conflicts of interests.
A statement said: "The Executive Board found that by helping a person with whom he was friends to offer his services to the company responsible for exploiting the television and the marketing rights of the IF (International Federation) of which he is President, and thereby obtaining substantial financial advantages for him, Fasel was in breach of the Rules Concerning Conflicts of Interests...and his conduct was likely to tarnish the reputation of the Olympic Movement."
Fasel, who also heads the Association of International Olympic Winter Sports Federations (AIOWSF), had admitted May last year he had helped his friend but denied benefitting financially from the relationship.
Last September an independent report from the audit firm Deloitte had cleared Fasel of receiving money.
However, investigators claimed at the time said they had limited evidence to examine.
The inquiry was launched after a Swiss newspaper alleged Fasel profited from deals struck by the IIHF's marketing partner and a company run by a longtime friend.
The newspaper reported in May 2009 that a company run by a childhood friend of Fasel, identified only as Y.S., received more than $1 million (£716,000) from 2004 to 2008 via IIHF broadcast and marketing agency Infront Sports and Media.
Fasel said: "There has never been any consulting agreement between myself and Infront the company controlling TV and marketing rights of the IHHF.
"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 realise that this likely was a case of poor judgment.
"For this I apologise."
While the IOC said the "reputational damage is all the greater given Fasel's important responsibilities within the IOC," it had opted to reprimand him for his behaviour and not to remove him from any of his IOC posts.
It said: "Respecting the principle of proportionality and taking into consideration the apologies offered by Fasel, the Ethics Commission considers it necessary to recommend that the Executive Board remind Mr Ren Fasel of his duty to respect the Olympic Charter and the Code of Ethics and to issue him with a reprimand."
Contact the writer of this story at [email protected]
September 2009: Inquiry clears IIHF President Rene Fasel of kickback claims
June 2009: Deloitte to lead inquiry into claims over Fasel
May 2009: Ice hockey chief denies he received kickbacks