I initially dreaded today, not just because I had heard earlier that FIFA will get a few more years of bladder control, but because of the news waves that would come after. The first one that came to view was the Guardian (of course). So this is what the Guardian had to say: “The re-elected FIFA president, Sepp Blatter, has said he was “shocked” at the way US authorities targeted football’s world body and slammed what he called a “hate” campaign by Europe’s football leaders“.
Dear Mr. Blatter, are you (allegedly) insane? This is not a little get together, this is a structural failing of an organisation, where over 150 million went to personal gains. All this whilst you were in control! I suggest you wake up and consider the fact that possible events calling for criminal negligence with Sepp Blatter in the next indictment has not been ruled out yet! As for the statement “arrests were timed to interfere with Zurich congress” could be regarded as misdirection, when you send in the ferrets, you send them into the hole when all the rabbits are together!
Let’s re-attach the original indictment: fifa-indictment-webb-etal
Then we see the comment: “The FIFA president condemned comments made by US officials including the attorney general, Loretta Lynch, who said corruption in football was “rampant, systemic and deep-rooted, both abroad and here in the United States”” Is that the fact Mr Blatter? The indictment specifies 13 criminal schemes, so if you want to condemn anything, it should be your choice of organisation and your inability to prevent any of this. The articles have not even looked at the implications on the overturned appeal to release Michael Garcia’s original full report. Consider the votes who blocked this and the people who are now indicted for corruption. How many influence was there?
Consider the appeal response by FIFA (at FIFA.com) “The FIFA Appeal Committee, chaired by Larry Mussenden, has concluded that the appeal lodged by the chairman of the investigatory chamber, Michael J. Garcia, against the statement of the chairman of the adjudicatory chamber of the independent Ethics Committee, Hans-Joachim Eckert, is not admissible“, the people want to know what actually was found. So, in all this, with this much money involved the three top dogs: Larry Mussenden, Hans-Joachim Eckert and Sepp Blatter. They are all in awe and shock that there was corruption? I mentioned it yesterday Andrew Jennings with ‘The Beautiful Bung: Corruption and the World Cup’, consider that this was 2006, we get two parts “A few days later we encountered Warner at Trinidad’s international airport and tried again to ask him about his ticket rackets and the fact that he steers lucrative FIFA contracts to his two sons Daryll and Daryan. After the World Cup Andrew obtained two confidential Ernst & Young reports from FIFA sources revealing that Warner had illicitly obtained 5,400 ticket for Germany and sold them to package tour companies in Japan, Mexico and Britain” as well as “FIFA vice president Jack Warner makes threatening gestures to Andrew’s cameraman“. Now we see that the sons have been arrested, Jack Warner proclaims his innocence and now we see reports that in the statements from the sons that their father is mentioned as being involved.
I think that Mr Blatter needs to take a long hard look at his own indignation and consider what he will do next, because his legacy has been burned down, it happened on his watch. In my view he has no one to blame but himself. Not because this unfolds now, but because there has been a decade of clear indications that things were amiss and no corrective steps had been made (as far as I can tell).
So when we see the Guardian part where we see the Defence of Blatter, which is shown at “But Blatter also appeared to discount his own responsibility for the scandal. “We can’t constantly supervise everyone in football,” he insisted. “You can’t just ask people to behave ethically just like that.”“, is that so? So, when we see the events from 2006 onwards, what did you do Mr Blatter?
Now, before people start overreacting, or trivialising on how large FIFA is, let’s not forget that amongst the arrested people were Jeffrey Webb and Eugenio Figueredo, both Vice Presidents of FIFA, so the list takes us to one step from the very top, which gives additional weight to both the inactions from Sep Blatter as well as the overturned appeal from Michael Garcia. Not to mention the fear they NOW have as they are fighting extradition, it does not matter what rank you have in FIFA, once you are a member of the State Penal League, those ‘rich’ boys will end up becoming somebodies bitch, how will that feel?
A side fact to mention is that I talked to dozens of people today regarding the FIFA corruption, not one person, I say again, not one person was surprised. So Mr Blatter, how truly undignified can you be, when there is almost a decade of presented evidence, as well as the press coverage over the years. It seems that in my humble view, Mr. Blatter should currently be presented with an Oscar for best theatrics, 2015!
Now let’s take a look at the part that matters, not just the press, not the ‘opinions’ from people (or from me for that matter), let’s look at the allegations in the indictment.
The enterprise is set as FIFA. It only has a written Code of Ethics in October 2004, revised in 2006 and 2009, it states that ‘that soccer officials were prohibited from accepting bribes or cash gifts and from otherwise abusing their positions for personal gain‘. On page 32 we see: ‘The Initial Corruption of the Enterprise’, here we see “WARNER worked closely thereafter with Co-Conspirator #1, whose fortunes rose with WARNER’s and who was appointed to be WARNER’s general secretary at CONCACAF. Following his appointment, Co-Conspirator #1 transferred CONCACAF’s administrative headquarters to New York, New York. WARNER established the president’s office in his home country of Trinidad and Tobago“, in addition we see “the defendant JACK WARNER established and controlled numerous bank accounts and corporate entities in which he mingled his personal assets and those of CONCACAF, CFU, and TTFF. Beginning in the early 1990s, WARNER, often with the assistance of Co-Conspirator #1, began to leverage his influence and exploit his official positions for personal gain. Among other things, WARNER began to solicit and accept bribes in connection with his official duties, including the selection of the host nation for the World Cups held in 1998 and 2010, which he participated in as a member of the FIFA executive committee“. Even though we can all understand that these people are making a nice amount of coinage. The growth in real estate by ‘family members‘ should have spurted questions on a few levels. the fact that the indictment states “with money drawn from an account held in the name of a soccer facility that was ostensibly affiliated with CONCACAF and was supported in part through FAP funds” gives voice to additional questions on how the books were kept, who was keeping the books and how can a FIFA president remain ignorant of these situations as they are now being documented?
I keep on going back to the work of Andrew Jennings ‘The Beautiful Bung: Corruption and the World Cup’. You see, Jennings is an investigative reporter, he worked for the Sunday Times and BBC Radio 4. He is not some glossy wannabe on the Telegraph or on any Murdoch shouting-wannabe-outrageous press view. This man did a decent job, looked at the issues and this all is reasonably nothing compared to ‘FIFA’s Dirty Secrets’ (November 2010). These are several clear-cut allegations that should have been points of action into investigation and adaption of rules and regulations within FIFA, yet all indications are that nothing was done, which makes the position of Sep Blatter a lot more worrying. Now we get to the one defence Blatter gave that does make sense “At the end of my term I will be able to hand over a strong FIFA – one that is integrated and will have enough safeguards to not need political interventions” (at http://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-32925227). In my view, the only way to do this is to be open and strict investigative. So, that did not include, or should it have allowed for the statement “the way US authorities targeted football’s world body and slammed what he called a “hate” campaign by Europe’s football leaders“.
In my view Sep Blatter is off to a negatively rocky start.
Additional evidence for questions on how finances are managed. Even FIFA.com is massively unclear on all of it. It that not strange for a multi-billion dollar industry? The fact that there is one president and then there are committee members, no clear CFO, of head of Finances, at least not clearly stated on their website. That does not raise any questions? Something this widespread should have a clear list of names and functions, especially financial ones. So when you see the Governance part of FIFA and we see “According to article 69, paragraph 2 of the FIFA Statutes, FIFA’s revenue and expenditure “shall be managed so that they balance out over the financial period”. Furthermore, “FIFA’s major duties in the future shall be guaranteed through the creation of reserves”“, when we see that line and we should all wonder on how some of these operations are in play. Consider the representation (at http://www.martingrandjean.ch/data-visualization-the-fifa-budget-2015-2018/), I cannot attest to the accuracy of it all, but it shows something interesting. With 5 billion coming in and when we look at the massive amounts of projects in funds going out, whilst leaving 100 million in profit, now consider posts like ‘competitive management‘, ‘Football governance‘, ‘Human resources‘ so many involved projects, linked people and other elements, can we now see that Sep Blatter should have acted in many regards a lot sooner, especially when we see the allegations thrown at the members of governance of FIFA?
This graph might be debatable for the amounts, but what is clearly shown are the amount of venues linked in all this and I feel decently certain, that considering where the 500,000 dollar from the Football Federation Australia went. If that went to ‘a stadium upgrade in Trinidad and Tobago’, if so, where is the accounting? Apart from the payment calling in to all kinds of questions, there are logistic issues. Something this big, this complex requires accountants and oversight. Can anyone explain why we see a second Tesco evolve? If you think that this is an exaggeration, then consider the data visualisation and all those projects costing millions, some totalling hundreds of millions out of a cash flow of 5 billion. You still think I am exaggerating?
When you look at these ‘facts’, I state facts loosely, because the source and quality of the data visualisation cannot be validated/verified (even though the source ‘FIFA Financial Report 2013’ is mentioned). But overall it shows several paths and many of them are known entities, so when we ignore the amount except for the two elements adding to 5 billion, which are publicly known. Can you even imagine how weird and unacceptable the ignorance of Sep Blatter is, how totally out of place of is for a president of an organisation the size of FIFA?
I let you decide, but consider the stories we see, the information we are not seeing and how the FBI was the one acting at present. In addition, as I requoted the 500,000, which was according to sources for a ‘stadium upgrade in 2010’. The information I found was that it was to upgrade the Marvin Lee Stadium. In 2007, the Stadium became the first in the Caribbean to have an artificial playing surface, costing TT$8 million, which was made possible through a FIFA development grant. This comes to AU$ 1.6 million, or £824,000. So where did the 2.4 million TT$ go to in 2010? And why did a stadium needed that much for an upgrade? Interesting on http://stadiumdb.com/stadiums/tri/marvin_lee_stadium is the fact that we see there that renovations were made in 2007, there is no mention of the 2010 upgrade as was stated. I am certain that some upgrades were made, but for how much? In addition we see all the artificial turf, but who costs it and is it competitively costed (especially when it sets someone 1.6 million back)? I do not know the answer, I am asking, I wonder who else if any are asking these questions in plight of the corruption allegations as well as the arrests made.
There is one final part. It puzzles me, hence I mention it. Especially in light of what is now visibly passing. The indictment, criminal counts three and four involve two wire transfers totalling 13 million in name of CONMEBOL at Banco do Brasil in Asunción, Paraguay. In light of the financial hardship Paraguay has had, with the crises of 1995, reforms demanded by the IMF due to corruption, with the banks having a long time history of laundering. Why would FIFA act in such a naive way? It is a fact that the HQ of CONMEBOL is in Paraguay, so there is a valid reason for the transfer, In 2013 Chile had one of the 50 safest banks, and Paraguay does not get mentioned on that list at all. Even if we accept the validity of the bank transfer (which seems to be the case), but what happened to the money after that? You see, that becomes the question. In addition, we see that apart from the Australian ‘donation’ counts 10 and 11 where additional donations went to the CFU Trinidad. Again, it seems valid, but what happened after that? The indictment is now 11 days old. Any quality CFO could have gone public stating where the money had gone to, in effect blowing the entire indictment out of the water. The fact that we see that certain FIFA members are fighting the extradition, in addition to the fact that conference and election or not, clarity on several points could have been able to give (read: should) in matters of hours give added question to what is going on.
My issue is not the ‘what next’ part, it is the ‘what did they not yet find’ part.
You see the indictments are on the transfers and payments, in the first degree. we see over time that CFU got two payments of a little over half a million, which should not be a blip on a 5 billion dollar radar, but for the indictment, it is, so what information is not shown at present (the trial will bring that out)? You see, are counts 10 and 11 a clear indication that they have certain evidence, or are these counts the crowbar to open up other issues, issues that could come up in ‘operational expenses and services‘ which the data visualisation sets at 990 million. I reckon that true digging into ‘building and maintenance’, ‘human resources’, ‘other’ and one element not even named could be the field where the FBI knows the issues are, the question now, does FIFA have a correct and precise account, if not, why not? If so then the comparison will leave a few highlighted fish, which will put Jeffrey Web in an uncertain location. The CFU will get into other waters as well as this is all British terrain (artificially grassed or not), the Serious Fraud Office (SFO) will soon get additional work, because they will now have their own investigation as well and as I see it, it will go a lot further than just a few banks.
FIFA might be all about the ball, but it seems that Sep Blatter has not been on it, not for a while now.