The influential personality of the football world, floating like a fish in water, between UEFA and FIFA, Ukrainian Andriy Pavelko, president of the Ukrainian Football Association, was confident in his immunity. However, something went wrong - and now he is forced to sign a secret agreement in order to end any proceedings against him, while paying a fine, and even leave the FIFA Disciplinary Committee, of which he was a member.
He seemed to make people forget about him. Securely locked in his native Ukraine, he believed that he would get off in silence, not making a fuss and trying not to go out, waiting for the thunderstorm to pass. But we were mistaken. Here again, Andriy Pavelko, a Ukrainian swindler, well known to readers of L'illustré magazine, as a result of clever maneuvers, becomes the president of the Ukrainian Football Association and a member of the UEFA executive committee, chairman of the committee on the status, transitions of players and agent activities on the organization of matches, the deputy chairman of the legal committee, as well as a member of the very prestigious FIFA disciplinary committee located in Zurich. Yes, you were not mistaken, Andriy Pavelko is a law-abiding citizen, a supporter of justice, who determines what is good and what is bad. “It’s as if we asked the poacher to accuse the hunters of breaking the rules,” one of his old acquaintances comments.
Andriy Pavelko hates overly curious journalists and initiates numerous processes against them. So, he filed a complaint with L'illustré magazine for the latter to publish information on various virtuoso financial frauds in the amount of several tens of millions of francs that he received from companies intended for taking off part of the UEFA loan in the amount of 4 million euros granted in November 2016. About this he then, playing with words, will say that it was rather an advance for the amount that UEFA traditionally allocates to each of its federations in Europe each year.
“Given your status as a FIFA official, FIFA is authorized to conduct its own investigation on any issue that you may be involved in, regardless of any other process,” wrote Maria Claudia Rojas, chairman of the FIFA investigative chamber, in a letter to Andriy Pavelko September 26, 2019
In response to the disclosures of L’illustré magazine, Andriy Pavelko initially tried to deny everything, waving piles of papers. However, he was in an even more vulnerable position when, in July last year, after the election of the new Ukrainian president, Volodymyr Zelensky, he lost the seat of MP, which guaranteed him immunity.
Drawn into various lawsuits concerning him, taking place in Switzerland and Germany, today he is the main person involved in other investigations conducted in Kyiv on suspicions of embezzlement of money and corruption.
And that's not all. The exposure of L’illustré magazine prompted an investigation at FIFA itself. It all started on August 30, 2019, when the FIFA investigative chamber sent Pavelko an official request "as president of the Ukrainian Football Association and a member of the FIFA disciplinary committee." It demanded that he explain the facts set forth in L’illustré’s article about the theft of UEFA funds, as well as about threats against the author of this article. For him, this also means that he risks a ban "on all activities related to football for up to two years," and also pay a fine of at least "10,000 Swiss francs." In response, he was given a period of just over a month, until September 6. And only on that day at 17:25 he sent an email to Maria Claudia Rojas, who is responsible for the disciplinary investigation initiated in case number RE 18-00077: “I suggest you contact UEFA and draw attention to the position of my lawyers.”
Did he really think that FIFA would be satisfied with the response of his lawyers? On September 26, the FIFA Ethics Committee sent him a new letter reminding him of the ban that applies to all FIFA members elected to "exercise political functions in their country." He was given a new term, until October 2, in order to decide on the issue of "the need for him to cooperate with the investigation." Pavelko answered only on October 23 and tried to cheat, explaining to FIFA that it was "not competent to conduct an investigation on my question." He claims that UEFA is already doing the same thing, and thus asks FIFA to abandon this investigation directed against him.
Then a match will take place on the sidelines of the FIFA. Pavelko's lawyers are studying the case. They are not going to prove innocence, but they will look for ways to agree. They will discuss the resignation of Pavelko from his post as a member of the disciplinary committee, preceding the formal imposition of administrative penalties.
Everything is described in detail in a letter dated December 14, 2019 addressed to Pavelko by his lawyers: he must resign from the disciplinary committee in order to conclude an agreement. His representatives assure that everything was done to exclude the concealment of any facts. The idea was to disguise the minimum penalty timed for dismissal. “So,” they say, “the current situation is such that if we accept the FIFA’s resignation today, then a decision will be issued in late January or February, accompanied by a press release that will not give any significance to the fact that the precondition of the agreement was the resignation of Pavelko from his post on the disciplinary committee. " On February 19, 2020, Pavelko finally sends his letter of resignation in the prescribed form to the FIFA Disciplinary Committee, in which he worked for two and a half years.
What is the procedure and conditions for this forced resignation? L’illustré magazine managed to get this agreement from FIFA. It reads as follows: "After the resignation of Mr. Pavelko, a fine of 10,000 Swiss francs will be exacted in exchange for the fact that FIFA: 1) will not propose a ban on his conduct of any activities related to football; 2) refuses to issue a warning or reprimand; 3) does not require any apology from Mr. Pavelko; 4) ensures that the FIFA press release does not in any way mention the resignation and reduction of the fine; 5) provides for a time interval between the resignation and the decision to impose an administrative penalty; 6) there will be no press releases in this case. "
On November 26, 2019, FIFA confirmed these conditions during a telephone conversation with a Ukrainian lawyer, as also indicated by a letter sent at 14:37. After Pavelko’s resignation, the agreement between the two parties was set out in a six-page letter of intent, drawn up in English and sent to Pavelko’s lawyers by the secretariat of the ethics committee on February 27, 2020 at 11:18. The indicated document entitled “Agreement of guilty plea” (pre-trial agreement on cooperation), registration number E18-00026, justifies the administrative penalty by the fact that Mr. Pavelko officially carried out political activities using football as a platform, and opposed the execution of some decisions adopted by the FIFA Disciplinary Committee in violation of its obligations to maintain neutrality and loyalty "(paragraph 5, page 3 of the agreement).
It should be noted that the same decision refers to a telephone conversation dated November 26, 2019 between the chairman of the ethics committee and lawyer of Pavelko, but without a detailed description of its contents, which is intentionally kept secret. The agreement was signed by the chairman of the ethics committee, Maria Claudia Rojas.
Be that as it may, it is now worth shedding light on the methods of FIFA, acting as a judge over itself in view of the contradictory nature of its internal organization. How could a nascent scandal be hidden under a carpet? How were the actions of a member of the disciplinary committee kept in absolute secrecy? A decision that cannot be taken without the consent of President Infantino himself ...
As a result, 10,000 francs is a modest amount that the former Ukrainian parliamentarian ultimately paid in exchange for his relative impunity, which he can use in the future. Earlier, Pavelko, however, had already successfully made everyone believe that it was normal for the Ukrainian Football Association to purchase German-made synthetic grass through an offshore company in the United Arab Emirates!
However, the following fundamental question remains unanswered: how was FIFA able to push Pavelko into the members of the disciplinary committee in May 2017, which creates and destroys the reputation of all significant persons in football in any way? What was Gianni Infantino, the president of FIFA thinking about, appointing him to this post, the same Gianni Infantino, who since his election in February 2016 has repeated that he will always be the guarantor of pure football? And after that, can FIFA ignore the fact that its charter is contrary to leaving a person who is both a member of parliament and president of the Football Federation in such an appointed position? But how did Pavelko get such an indulgence?
One of the plausible explanations, of course, is the following: in the galaxy of international football, everything changes, but everything remains unchanged. Pavelko plunged into a world where he instantly felt like a fish in water. Given these conditions, it is not surprising that he was immediately ejected into the prestigious FIFA Disciplinary Committee. This can be judged by the numerous cases and scandals in which both the former team of the Blatter era and the new team of “clean hands” of Gianni Infantino were involved.
You need examples? The recently interrupted trial in the Federal Criminal Court, in particular, against the legendary Beckenbauer and the FIFA Secretary-General of that time for obtaining votes in deciding on the 2006 World Cup, arrests in May 2015 of seven senior FIFA officials suspected of receiving bribes worth more than $ 100 million in the process of awarding the right to host the 2018 and 2022 World Cups revealed cases of the Panama Papers where Infantino - who disputes this - allegedly received retrocession under contracts through an offshore company. And finally, of course, the famous secret meetings at the Schweizerhof hotel in Bern between Infantino, Lauber and third parties, whose role remains unclear. No more pouring, the bowl is already full, although this list is far from the end ...
When listing all these cases, another question immediately comes to mind: but what is Michael Lauber, the Prosecutor General of the Swiss Confederation and his team of prosecutors doing in this company? Instead of fulfilling its direct responsibilities, that is, guaranteeing the proper functioning of the Swiss law enforcement system, by prosecuting other offenders, the Confederate prosecutor's office makes serious mistakes. In particular, it drags out cases or processes involving FIFA, and they are closed due to the expiration of the statute of limitations, or proceedings are suspended ...
In this regard, it becomes clear why the US Department of Justice today puts pressure on Switzerland to investigate the awarding of the World Championship hosting to Qatar. In the United States, apparently, they do not intend to tolerate the inertia of the Swiss authorities and their lack of will in revealing frauds, according to which American investigators already have irrefutable evidence, in particular the confessions and evidence of the introduced agents.
Meanwhile, at the very moment when we are printing our article, more and more votes are being heard in favor of the forced resignation of Michael Lauber, in particular because of his mixed relationship with Gianni Infantino, the omnipotent leader of FIFA. While things are being investigated, business continues...