A Question of Ethics

At the Congress in Bahrain he was appointed as new member of FIFA’s Ethics Committee. Meet Aivar Pohlak. By Lars Johnsen, Håvard Melnæs and Pål Ødegård Back in 2012, in front of investigators from the Norwegian police, Aivar Pohlak, long-time President of FC Flora Tallinn and President of the Estonian FA since 2007, described Estonian football and his business empire. “Football is a young sport in Estonia. I have throughout my whole life actively contributed to building a football culture in Estonia. For this I have been commemorated by FIFA”, Pohlak is recorded saying in the official interrogation file. Pohlak sat across the police as a suspect in a tax evasion case. The scheme involved the Estonian player Raio Piiroja, who had been sold to Fredrikstad FK from FC Flora Tallinn in 2004. At Fredrikstad, Piiroja was a key player, however he received a meagre salary compared to his teammates. At the same time, Fredrikstad FK had transferred millions of Norwegian kroners to Estonian bank accounts. The invoices said “scouting fees”. But nobody could account for the scouting. And whilst he was full-time professional player with a club in Norway, Flora Tallinn continued to pay Piiroja. This arrangement aroused interest from the Norwegian tax authorities. Fredrikstad FK had made the scouting agreement with two companies, a players’ agent company called Sport & Net Grupp, chaired by Aivar Pohlak, and a company called Artnet Grupp, Aivar Pohlaks non-football related personal company. “Sport & Net Grupp is owned 100 per cent by Flora. It was founded to maximise income from football-related activities like agent representation and scouting,” Pohlak explaine...

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