At the game tomorrow between Man Utd and Olympiakos, I will be backing one red army in the shadow of another. Gazprom is the sponsor of the UEFA Champions League, and TV stations are contractually obliged to show their snazzy advertising throughout. The umbrella body of world football is no better. It is embarrassing enough to be promoting Russia’s key interest by way of the world’s most popular sport. It will be more embarrassing yet if come 2018 Russia is bleating about excluding America (and they are, btw), perhaps hosting teams from countries whose occupations we oppose, and if we all go into Russia’s World Cup without a word of objection to football’s governing body.
The night before the announcement that Russia would host in 2018 and Qatar in 2022, the BBC aired a stinging investigation into FIFA’s opaque culture of bribery and fraud. Putin, who supposedly did not know who had won, refused to attend the ceremony stating:
“We have unfortunately witnessed a campaign against members of the Fifa executive - filth and compromising material has been poured over them,” he told ministers in Moscow.
“I see this as unscrupulous competition ahead of the vote.
“I would love to represent our entry in person. However, under these circumstances, I think it would be best not to go out of respect for the members of the Fifa executive committee, so that they can make their decision in peace and without any outside pressure.”
Hmm. That’s strange. Why would Putin defend the integrity of this body which might yet grant the world cup to someone else?
The Washington Post puts it well:
“We have no proof that Fifa is corrupt, the same way that we have no proof that Barry Bonds took steroids. What we do know is that Fifa makes some very strange decisions and that they hate transparency… Congratulations to Qatar’s one million people … You will burn an ungodly amount of fossil fuels air-conditioning 12 stadiums, but the one thing you have is an ungodly amount of fossil fuels.” source: Guardian
But now we do have proof that FIFA is corrupt. Deeply corrupt.
A senior Fifa official and his family were paid almost $2 million (£1.2m) from a Qatari firm linked to the country’s successful bid for the 2022 World Cup, The Telegraph can disclose.
Jack Warner, the former vice-president of Fifa, appears to have been personally paid $1.2million (£720,000) from a company controlled by a former Qatari football official shortly after the decision to award the country the tournament.
Payments totalling almost $750,000 (£450,000) were made to Mr Warner’s sons, documents show. A further $400,000 (£240,000) was paid to one of his employees.
It is understood that the FBI is now investigating Trinidad-based Mr Warner and his alleged links to the Qatari bid, and that the former Fifa official’s eldest son, who lives in Miami, has been helping the inquiry as a co-operating witness.
The awarding of the 2022 World Cup to Qatar was one of the most controversial decisions in sporting history. The intense summer heat in the desert nation has raised the prospect of the tournament being moved to the winter for the first time
The document is dated December 15, 2010, two weeks after Qatar won the right to host the tournament, and states that the money is “payable to Jack Warner”.
Mr Warner’s two sons and an employee were paid a further $1 million (£600,000) by the same Qatari company.
One document states that payments are to “offset legal and other expenses”, but a separate letter claims that more than $1 million cover “professional services provided over the period 2005-2010”.
At least one bank in the Cayman Islands initially refused to process the payment amid fears over the legality of the money transfer. The money was eventually processed via a bank in New York - a transaction that is understood to have come to the attention of the FBI. A well-placed source said: “These payments need to be properly investigated. The World Cup is the most important event in football and we need to be confident that decisions have been made for the right reasons. There are lots of questions that still need to be answered.”
Source: The Telegraph (and there’s more!)
One answer The Telegraph proposes is to bring this to the attention of FIFA’s other advertisers. Not Gazprom but Coca Cola, Visa and Adidas. I really think they should cancel pending an independent review and a total overhaul of FIFA and its satellites, rather than associate with all these thieves and despots.