There is no escaping the news, FIFA is currently getting smeared all over the place, but before we start painting the roses red, the question we must ask is who are we trying to appease?
Our own sense of morality perhaps?
My first writing on all this started on March 19th 2014 in ‘Any sport implies corruption!‘ (at https://lawlordtobe.com/2014/03/19/any-sport-implies-corruption/), There I looked at the first allegations against Qatar. The evidence presented was highly debatable. It took me to a response Lord Denning gave in the trial Miller v. Minister of Pensions  2 All ER 372. The statement was “more probable than not”. In the end, I had reservations on whether Qatar was guilty of bribes. I finalised my view with “it is more likely than not that three people were falsely set in an illegal light so that several unnamed persons could walk away with many hundreds of millions of Euros“. My view was apparently a lot more optimistic!
Now we get to the news of the last few days.
On May 27th FIFA officials get arrested on corruption charges. (06:00)
On May 27th Criminal investigation into 2018 and 2022 World Cup awards opened (09:30)
On May 27th FIFA presidential election to go ahead, no 2018 and 2022 World Cup revotes (10:30) (source: http://www.espnfc.com.au/)
At 14:30 4 members, Chuck Blazer, Jose Hawilla, Daryan Warner and Daryll Warner plead guilty. So, even as daddy Warner proclaims his innocence, it seems that he was able to instil values of corruption in his boys. However just now in the Wall Street Journal (at http://www.wsj.com/articles/three-men-with-ties-to-former-fifa-official-aided-probe-1432859617) gives us the quote “businessmen who have been involved in ventures…including ventures involving their father”, which gives way to daddy Warner being in water a lot warmer than he might find comfortable. But in all this, the disturbing part is not the fact that FIFA seems to be corrupt through and through, it is odd in my view that this has been going on under the watchful eye of police forces all over Europe, as well as Interpol. These events were all brought to light by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (of FBI for short). Is that not puzzling? I was not the only one thinking this. A similar thought came from Chris Bryant MP (at http://www.bbc.com/news/blogs-the-papers-32925653)
When we consider certain facts.
From USA Today we get “Blazer was a member of the FIFA Executive Committee from 1996 to 2013, when he was replaced by Sunil Gulati. That same year Blazer was accused of taking over $15 million in payments from FIFA over the course of his tenure and was suspended“, so now suddenly he is regarded as a ‘Report: Former FIFA executive-turned-informant‘ and he had a $6000 apartment for his cats! So, basically he had a pussy place for that cash? Yet the part that is linked here is “CONCACAF’s offices took up the entire 17th floor, but Blazer often worked from two apartments where he lived on the 49th floor“. It seems to me that there is a lot more going on here. Is it perhaps (mere speculation) that certain meetings were to be taken in a deniable setting? More important, I get it that the FBI caught on, but why did the Police forces all over Europe remain blind to all this? In addition, this also brings the entire Michael Garcia debacle again into focus. The fact that this level of corruption had been going on, and as far as we can tell, it happened under the nose of Michael Garcia. When we consider he had been digging into the entire corruption issues for both 2018 and 2022, it seems odd that no flags were raised when we consider the lavish lifestyle of some members. The fact that his appeal to publish the entire document he worked on was overthrown, now these people will get to explain a lot as the corruption scandal spins out of control and anyone now trying to withhold information could end up painted black by the ‘corruption brush’!
It is Attorney General Loretta Lynch who says it best: “It spans at least two generations of soccer officials who, as alleged, have abused their positions of trust to acquire millions of dollars in bribes and kickbacks”, so over two generations, decades in activities and the President Sep Blatter remains blind to it all? I am not stating whether he was involved, that is up to the FBI and they did not find anything, the fact that he should have been aware something was wrong is ample evidence that Sep Blatter is nowhere near fit to preside over FIFA. Not when something like this goes on for decades under his presidency.
If we accept the view from the Guardian (at http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2015/may/28/fifa-expose-british-press-andrew-jennings-sunday-times-corruption-fa), where we see: “Andrew Jennings, 71, who has traced Sepp Blatter’s footsteps for more than a decade. Jennings worked for the Sunday Times and BBC’s Panorama. His BBC film about FIFA corruption, The Beautiful Bung, appeared as long ago as 2006“, so as we consider these facts and the fact that this happened, for a large extent under the eyes of Sep Blatter, as we see that he had made no moves since the 2006 film, which should have been an eye opener for him, Scotland Yard and Interpol, but it was the FBI in 2015 who got it done!
Is there no blame? With this level of negligence? I hardly think that is the case and as I see the presidency of Sep Blatter should be cut immediately. In addition, if FIFA wants to regain any level of credibility, it has in my view, no other option but to publish the full report by Michael Garcia. You see, what is in there will be revealing, but I feel certain that what is not in there might be worth even more. Because all this happened, because certain steps were not done and even the tail coat of Michael Garcia is very likely to get smudged. Now let me be clear, I do not believe that Michael Garcia did anything wrong, yet as he started his role in July 2012, he must have had a few thoughts on how he can remain so isolated from the entire pack, as it was devouring the better part of 150 million. Red flags should have been raised in the corner of his eyes, but that might be just me speculating!
The other part hit me when I read the article “Chuck Blazer: FIFA ‘supergrass’” (at http://www.bbc.com/news/32913599), when we consider the quote “it was at this time that Blazer signed a contract with Concacaf that entitled him to 10% commissions on all sponsorship and TV rights deals through his company Sportvertising, giving rise to his nickname of ‘Mr Ten Percent’“, so he gets 10% and still he gets on the Trans Corruption Express? In 2011 he gets the option to become the inside man, the informer. It seems to me that this person has been given a way to lavish life, with 2 repayments. The first one of 1.9 million and another one still to come. I reckon his attorney will use the ‘colon cancer card’ for maximum effect.
I reckon, the FBI did in light of the inaction by so many others, a great job!
The question on everyone’s mind will be regarding the future of FIFA, because without a complete overhaul and without a complete rewriting of the rules, there is every chance that FIFA might not be tolerated any further. There is one more matter, which was set at http://www.theguardian.com/football/2015/may/28/australian-police-asked-to-investigate-500000-payment-to-fifas-jack-warner. Here we see ‘Australian police asked to investigate $500,000 payment to FIFA’s Jack Warner‘. So this is another ball game. My question is in the first degree, what was the payment for? Was there a receipt? The Sydney Morning Herald had an interesting part: “The $500,000 payment by the FFA to a football association bank account controlled by Warner – a payment ostensibly made to redevelop a stadium in Trinidad and Tobago“, so why was the Football Federation Australia paying to redevelop a stadium there? The second quote “The FFA on Thursday defended its failure to report the matter to Australian or US police on the basis that FIFA – the organisation now at the centre of an international corruption storm – asked them not to” is even further troubling. Basically, FIFA officials seem to get away with it, the moment the word ‘FIFA’ and ‘request’ are mentioned together, the simple application of Common Sense went straight out of the window.
Even though there will be no resetting of 2018 and 2022, issues still need to be addressed. There is now an additional side to all this. Editors seem to forget at times what they do, but let me remind you regarding the article I wrote on November 14th 2014 called ‘Sacking the editor?‘, in there Martin Ivens is quoted by Reuters: “Britain’s Sunday Times newspaper reported that some of the “millions of documents” it had seen linked payments by former FIFA executive committee member Mohamed Bin Hammam to officials to win backing for Qatar’s World Cup bid”, is that not interesting? So, did the police act on any of that? Is it perhaps possible that the allegations from a newspaper actually hindered a criminal investigation? It is hard to say as the direct facts are murky (and my view on UK Criminal law is murky too), but it all gives way to a hidden stream of events under the FIFA tsunami that is now hitting the press. Has the press shouted ‘wolf’ so often that certain officials stopped acting? That is the direct question here, because the indignation that Chris Bryant MP voiced (Labour) is very real. Why did the FBI solve that what should have been squarely in the corner of Scotland Yard and Interpol. Andrew Jennings is only one of many sources that seem to have been ignored by many people and players on numerous levels.
So, are we condoning corruption? Before you say ‘no’ consider how long this issue was unattended and the fact that the FIFA president, who remained oblivious to the entire matter is at this point likely to be re-elected calls for even more questions. The last part was released half an hour ago. We must give option to refer to the Serious Fraud Office with some laughter as it is now assessing the ‘materials’ which give voice to the fact that Barclays, HSBC and Standard Chartered Bank were used to transfer cash. Didn’t we see two of those banks in other ‘issues’ involving cash?
Is anyone else finally waking up?
The Original Indictment: fifa-indictment-webb-etal