In a few weeks that has seen questions raised about the administration of some Israeli sports clubs, the country’s IOC representative insisted that Israeli sports is “corruption free”.
Speaking about the suicide of Moni Fanan, a former Maccabi Tel Aviv basketball manager, Alex Gilady, a senior member of the International Olympic Committee (IOC) and a member of the IOC’s London 2012 Co-ordination Commission said: “All we know is that a gentleman who held a voluntary position as manager of Maccabi Tel Aviv basketball has committed suicide for reasons that are not clear.
“This has happened two years after he left his position in the club and the tax authorities are investigating. No corruption cases have been exposed.”
However, an investigation into Mr Fanan’s bank accounts is expected to show that he served as an unofficial bank for dozens of basketball players who would deposit large sums with him — the minimum investment was $100,000 — in return for an exceedingly handsome interest.
Whether he might have deposited money from Maccabi Tel Aviv players and beyond, raises question marks over possible match-rigging.
Gilady said: “As far as I can see, sports in Israel is absolutely clean. Of course it’s good to check from time to time to make sure it stays that way.”
Betar Jerusalem’s owner Arcadi Gaydamak was recently sentenced in absentia to six years for illegal arms dealing by a French court, and his club has also been offered as surety by Gaydamak to Levi Kushnir, who has seen three of his businesses placed in receivership.
On a more positive note, Gilady, who would not divulge where his vote went for the 2016 Olympics, expects 2012 to be a “great Games”.
“There’s no comparison to the preparation for Athens, which fell way behind schedule, and even Beijing had not got so far ahead (as London).” He expects the Olympic stadium “to be superb”.