Tag Archives: FIFA


This time the story has a twist, it has sides that some considered and many ignored. This all started when the Guardian started a new story this morning. The title ‘From Snowden to Panama, all hail the power of the press‘, written by Simon Jenkins (at http://www.theguardian.com/news/commentisfree/2016/apr/06/simon-jenkins-power-of-press-panama-papers-investigative-journalists). Even though it is ‘merely’ on the ‘comment is free’ part of the Guardian, this article deserves a separate bit of attention. You see, the start set me off, but it was the content that truly leaves food for thought and it should worry you all!

The title is the first part. You see, I always considered Snowden to be a joke, a scenario (explanation will follow), in addition, the Panama papers are showing a side that should worry a lot of players in this game of what I consider to be misinformation. The interesting part is that these two examples are both relying on data, one from the inside and one (Mossack Fonseca should hope so) from the outside.

Then the writer gives us the following: “Fifa corruption, Snowden and surveillance, Rotherham child abuse, drugged athletes, Stephen Lawrence, WikiLeaks, MPs’ expenses, phone hacking, HSBC, cash for questions, cricket fixing, extraordinary rendition, Olympic bribery, Slater Walker share fixing, DC-10 crashes, thalidomide, corruption at the Met: if power had had its way, none of these stories would have come to light“, now for some cold realities. If there is one voice that requires heralding, than it is the journalist Andrew Jennings. He was the one who truly looked into FIFA, with FIFA’s Dirty Secrets (first aired on 29th November 2010), this was basically one man. The press at large didn’t do that much. They ‘reported’ on certain matters, but the visibility it should have gotten was below minimum. The Guardian in May 2011 gave us in “Lord Triesman accuses Fifa executives of ‘unethical behaviour'” the mere quote “In retrospect that was not the right view to take and I accept that” seems to push for sympathy. The only part I see is that the press at large ignored seriously investigating FIFA. When it finally did happen, it was a decade too late. When we see the phone hacking reference, we must realise two elements “investigations conducted from 2005 to 2007 appeared to show that the paper’s phone hacking activities were limited to celebrities, politicians and members of the British Royal Family” is the first and the second “the phones of murdered schoolgirl Milly Dowler, relatives of deceased British soldiers, and victims of the 7 July 2005 London bombings had also been hacked“. It was public outcry that led to the official investigations, not the press. The Leveson inquiry that started through the announcement of David Cameron on July 6th 2011 would show a few sides. One of them that the Press Complaints Commission was merely a joke and a bad one at that. It also started Hacked Off, a group investigating the misdeeds of the press. The Leveson inquiry resulted in an advice for a royal charter, something that was massively feared and objected to. We would see responses like “state restriction on press freedom“, yet freedom does not mean unaccountable, which is what the press, for reasons of ambiguity and circulation requires.

The royal charter was from the very first moment bitterly contested by the press, with many of the largest newspapers instead backing Ipso, which by many non-journalists is regarded as a mere joke.

There is little to say about the rest of the initial list, but it is not the last stated about the article. You see, now the light grows on the Panama Papers with “A cloud of stinking dust rises as another wall in the edifice of unaccountability crashes to the ground. No thanks are due to any government or police force, to any minister or regulator“, this statement might sound true, but is it? Let’s look at the list:

  1. Any government. So, what about Panama? That place has its own government!
  2. Police force, they were never part of anything, remember the initial part, Mossack Fonseca has not broken any laws, so how does the police fit here?
  3. Any minister, which is the first real name, hidden in a field of useless names. You see, how are laws made? (at http://www.parliament.uk/education/about-your-parliament/how-laws-are-made/), that has been the issue from day one for decades, there was a need to truly overhaul taxation laws in pretty much every Commonwealth nation, when was this done? When did the press at large keep a watchful eye on those making laws? Which members of government, which MP, which Lord has attempted to overhaul tax havens and taxation laws? Which bills were created for that? All answers not forthcoming, the press tends to sleep through those moments as they are often regarded as not sexy enough for circulation.
  4. Any regulator. They overlook that things are properly done according to law. As no law was broken, they tend to be useless here.

So the list we see leaves us with one group to blame (because no crime has been reported 3 become non-players), a group that gets blamed all the time, so people do not take heed. What is brilliant is what Simon Jenkins does next. He basically validates all I wrote here (and I have written it before). He writes “Sometimes it relies on a solitary reporter, such Andrew Jennings initially on Olympic and Fifa corruption“, he is correct, especially when he writes “If indeed “everyone in the know knew” that Fifa was corrupt, sportsmen took drugs and contests were fixed, why did it need American attorneys to make arrests, spurred to action by the British press?“, that is a question that has an easy answer as I see it. You see, it is money! In that same light the press has become extremely cautious to (pardon my French) ‘piss off the shareholders and advertisers‘. When it is a player like FIFA, a player with billions, the nervous cat (aka the editor) might not take a step until the transgressor confesses on national news from a public place (like that will ever happen).

So why do I have an issue?

You see, the title has the gem no one talks about.

I have written about Snowden many times, so you can Google that part, but the Panama Papers are new and here to we see a certain lack, one that was equally present with the Snowden claims.

For this we need to take a small step into Logic. You see Mossack Fonseca is not a simple place, I reckon that those working there are amongst the brightest on the planet. Even when Wall Street collapsed and whilst others were looking at Enron. This player with 300,000 companies was making its own waves. Namely waves of continued wealth. Consider those accounts and as these clients are all well above millionaires, consider a fictive amount that they’d pay $10,000 for the privilege of not paying more than 1% taxation. That means that we have a bare minimum of $3 billion in clean revenue and that is the smallest possible number. If they were paid 0.1% of the saved taxation, we get to a number of more than twenty times the amount, not bad for a company with 500 people over 42 nations. We all want a share of that pie and that is exactly what is happening right now (as I see it).

Do you think that you can just walk into systems that secure an annual revenue of billions? You think that hacking is a new invention? No, these people will pay top dollar for 24 hours a day monitoring of every byte they have. This is the puzzling part that every press agency seems to have overlooked (read: ignored). Those files and the massive size of it would have set above average alerts all over the place and this place is anything but absolute top tiered secure. You see, the second part in all this is that new progressive form of entertaining person. In America they refer to him as President of the United States. You see the title ‘Obama calls for international tax reform amid Panama Papers revelations‘ (at http://www.theguardian.com/news/2016/apr/05/justice-department-panama-papers-mossack-fonseca-us-investigation) reads like a mere joke for the following reasons:

– As ‘lame duck’ president you Mr President are on the way out, the elections are already underway and in November a new person comes into the White House, whatever claims you make now, they will never become a reality!

– Let’s take a little gander back to July 2013, where your administration, perhaps even the head honcho of that oval office (read: you) REFUSED to back international taxation laws that would allow tougher calls on digital companies like Google, Amazon and Apple. The quote “Senior officials in Washington have made it known they will not stand for rule changes that narrowly target the activities of some of the nation’s fastest growing multinationals“, which amount to the US needs that money and taxation in other nations is not an option at present.

The last part is shown when we consider the congressional paper ‘Tax Havens: International Tax Avoidance and Evasion‘ called R40623, here we see on page 4 “These tax havens tend to be concentrated in certain areas, including the Caribbean and West Indies and Europe, locations close to large developed countries. There are 50 altogether“, which is wrong, for the simple reason that there are at least 51. America decided not to list the USA, which is shown by Bloomberg (at http://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2016-01-27/the-world-s-favorite-new-tax-haven-is-the-united-states), where we see “helping the world’s rich move accounts from places like the Bahamas and the British Virgin Islands to Nevada, Wyoming, and South Dakota“, did you see that one little reference, ‘from’, this is what Mossack Fonseca faces, a move from one place into the USA. Interesting that he who is on the way out seems to skip his own garden when it comes to tax havens. Could the USA be that bankrupt? Or is this another move to force any wealth away from supporting Brexit? You cannot deny the timing that this comes to light just when Greece will be unable to meet another payment, meaning that new arrangements are necessarily. And the Bloomberg article was published months ago!

What is a given is that hacking into Mossack Fonseca should have been nearly impossible, unless you have government assets to use, which we all know is not really an option. In the end I cannot prove how the data got out and Mossack Fonseca will never answer that with clarity, consider that even on a fast internet, it would take 326 hours to download the data that some claim they have from Mossack Fonseca. So either there was another medium, or there are other players in town. These simple elements were easily found, and how long until someone in the office realises that one data job is taking a really long time?

This is why the entire Panama Paper Trail smells and the press at large seems to be avoiding the questions, in this we will soon see the Guardian replace ‘According to Snowden’ replace with ‘According to the Panama Papers we have’ as a new false seal of reliability, so that more ‘dramatic’ revelations can find their way to a page one issue.

How Delusional is that?

That question is equally important, because even though I relied on quotes sources and logic, is my version so much better and so much more reliable? I am not willing to believe myself regarding some of the issues illuminated, so why would you? I personally believe that you can find these same facts easily enough. The levels of logic I employed can be equalled easily enough by an intelligent person, so why did the press not see them and why are they not asking the hard questions?

Is that fair enough?

I leave it with you to consider the facts I presented.



Filed under Finance, IT, Law, Media, Politics

Hunting facts

We can go on about Greece (which is again in crises), we can look at video games (like how the QA of Arkham Knight got effed up), but for now all interesting news has been said and there are a few British political events starting, but what some of you all forgot about was FIFA. When I look into the Guardian and seek the sports page (online) I see three times the mention of FIFA, only one has a video regarding the money-laundering inquiry. The interesting part is that the term ‘bribes’ is now replaced with ‘money laundering’. In that view the following document is rather interesting https://www.sentencingcouncil.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/Fraud_bribery_and_money_laundering_offences_-_Definitive_guideline.pdf.

You see, Money Laundering is a rather harsher part in all this. For that we need to take a look at a few crimes acts, specifically the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002 (not today though).

And as I go through it with a few giggles, it seems to me that all this is not good for Jack Warner, even though he ‘threatened’ to reveal an ‘avalanche’ of secrets, he could end up looking at his luxurious stay in Hotel Sing Sing for a lot longer, than he would if convicted for bribery, in addition the accusation of him redirecting financial aid for the Haiti victims (from several newspapers) could make matters even worse for him.

This came from the Guardian with the title ‘Jack Warner fears for his life and will reveal ‘avalanche’ of secrets‘, yet so far, no revelations of any kind, or none that ended up in the hands of the press at present. This is the interesting part, if we go by the Jamaica observer who reported only 2 days ago: “but up to Thursday, the Office of the Attorney General had not received any request for Warner to be extradited to the United States, where he is wanted on wire fraud, racketeering and money laundering charges“, is that not peculiar? Technically it is not, extradition, means the start of a trial, and as such, Jack Warner is too visible, there is no place he can run to (as I see it). In addition, setting up a trial of this magnitude will take some time. However, the initial indictment that I published in ‘Condoning corruption!‘, (at https://lawlordtobe.com/2015/05/29/condoning-corruption/) almost a month ago, should clearly put him at the top, as the star player in all this. In addition there is (at http://www.theguardian.com/football/2015/jun/10/john-oliver-trinidad-television-mock-jack-warner-fifa), where you can see the comedian telling the same things I told , but his comical approach is one that is not to be missed!

So why the long silence?

Well, that is the interesting part. There was no silence, when we look at the Guardian in Trinidad (at http://www.guardian.co.tt/news/2015-06-23/warner-integrity-commission-has-tapes), we see the headline ‘Warner: Integrity Commission has tapes‘, yet, I have at times doubted the duty of many newspapers all over the place, especially when it is owned by a member of the Murdoch family. Still is it not extremely interesting how many large newspapers have not picked up this news? I would think that the news of audio tapes, FIFA members and bribery would be the stuff of legends for papers like the LA Times, the NY Times, or even the Washington Post, yet none of them had picked up the Breaking news, or should it be broken news? The Washington Post did however pick up the response to John Oliver from Jack Warner (at http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/early-lead/wp/2015/06/12/composer-says-jack-warner-stole-his-music-for-video-directed-at-john-oliver/), especially as Jack Warner is also under fire from the composer, whose music he used to drown out his own voice from 1:13 to 2:20. Anyway, his response to the comedian was given on the 12th of June, the Washington Post possible regarded this as light entertainment (with Greg Dombrowski who is at present the only one who is not amused). After that the Washington Post has nothing. So was it breaking or broken news? I do not know. I have not heard the tapes, yet neither had any of the other news outlets as far as I can tell, so if Jack Warner is bringing evidence out, why ignore it? A half-baked news moment on the ‘MH370 suicide mission’ gets picked up with what was called a ‘reliable source’ by those working for the Barclay Brothers, yet no one is touching the Warner Tapes.

I am quite happy to see Jack Warner Fry for all of this, but the man is entitled to a defence, when the press steers clear to this amount, who are they actually listening to? What is the audience not getting informed on and where are the FIFA puppeteers? Let’s not forget that the full report from Michael Garcia is still being kept locked away. The entire FIFA debacle has people running for the hills and there is a decent indication that the press is aiding some of them by not illuminating the issues at play.

Yet, we must also look beyond Jack Warner, which gets us to CONMEBOL. It is forced to pay 10 million out of its own funds. When we look at http://www.espnfc.com/fifa-world-cup/story/2502646/conmebol-facing-cash-flow-crisis-due-to-fifa-bribery-scandal, we get the following facts:

  • Sponsors have been asked to pay Conmebol directly
  • Datisa had only paid Conmebol 35 out of the 80 million, which means it is all short by 4,500,000,000 centavos.

It becomes a little weirder (possibly due to missing facts), when we consider the quote by Bloomberg: “head of international business for Brazil-based sports marketing firm Traffic Group (Jochen Loesch), one of the companies that make up Datisa. Traffic founder Jose Hawilla, 71, pleaded guilty in federal court in Brooklyn to racketeering conspiracy, wire fraud conspiracy, money laundering conspiracy and obstruction of justice. He agreed to forfeit $151 million“, so if he forfeits THAT MUCH, what else did he stuff into ‘a’ matrass? By the way, I had a decent income for a few decades, yet summed up, over my whole working life, pre taxation, I will have made less than 1% of what Hawilla is forfeiting in this event; crime has become THAT rewarding!

Of course, we seem to focus on FIFA alone, yet, when we look at the Boston Globe, we see the indirect fallout, which makes the lashing the FIFA executives a lot more essential. When we read the article ‘FIFA scandal may affect Boston’s 2024 bid‘ (at https://www.bostonglobe.com/sports/2015/06/24/fifa-scandal-grows-could-affect-boston-bid/AasXsCJZobZTayvfb06obP/story.html). My issue is not with the article in the Boston Globe, it was with a quote in the Chicago Tribune “Because next Tuesday, if the U.S. Olympic Committee has come to its senses, its board of directors will wisely choose at a regularly scheduled meeting to pull a doomed Boston bid that has been a disaster from the start“. Two parts, one is the question, why it was doomed? That is an actual question, there is no direct answer in my view. The second is that the Olympic committee could, ‘wake up’ is the incorrect term, I do not think that the Olympic Committee is asleep, I mean that they need to refocus their current vision. What could be the problem is the location of the games. You see, no matter how all this goes, the 2024 Olympics will be 2 years AFTER Qatar, actually, due to rescheduling, less than 18 months, which means that there will be all kinds of issues all over Europe (a reeling UEFA after a drenched timeline as part of the 2022 soccer competition will be all over the place is one), the second one is French politics. At this point it is still extremely likely that National Front end up in a new location, when Marine Le Pen moves to 55, Rue du Faubourg Saint-Honoré, Paris, with the French in a massive wave moving towards European segregation, keeping the Olympics on the US side of the Atlantic river might not be the worst idea. Although, if the American administration does not clean up its tax act, it will be bankrupt making the entire exercise slightly exotic to say the least. If there is one essential part we need to consider in all this, then I would state that the Stability of the Olympics need to be assured, apart from that having them in the US after 28 years is not a bad way to go. With all the troubles Europe is still to face, especially with Greece messing up the European economy (the makers of the Olympics of all things), both Paris and Rome could end up in such a bad state that only Hamburg and Budapest remain a realistic location, considering Boston for the games of 2024 is definitely in my books at present.

So how did I get from FIFA to the Olympics?

That we do get from the Boston Globe, where we see “While longtime FIFA president Sepp Blatter, who has said he’ll resign possibly by year’s end, has not yet been indicted, he is said to be a target of the investigation. Blatter also happens to be an IOC member, which comes with the job of heading one of the planet’s biggest sports, such as track and field, swimming, basketball, and skating“, which is generic information. The second quote has the gem: “If Blatter is indicted, he’d obviously have to resign from the IOC. The question is, will the Justice Department stop with soccer or will it broaden its inquiry to other federations where payoffs likely have been made over the years? And since at least 17 present or honorary IOC members are current or former federation heads, will they have a strong incentive not to vote for Boston for the 2024 Summer Games, lest they be taken into custody upon arrival at Logan“, you see, the quote “at least 17 present or honorary IOC members are current or former federation heads” in that same article is linked to all this. Now, there is absolutely ZERO indication that these members have done anything wrong, but a massive amount of them are Europeans and this FIFA spectacle will grow and touch (read: smear) many European nations, at which point the media, will go on a rampage like hungry rats, ripping whatever they can for the prospect of ‘circulation’, getting the 2024 Olympics out of Europe that time around might be something to seriously consider. As viewers watch matches of all Olympic events, whilst games are overshadowed by all kinds of ‘speculative revelations’ by unnamed sources in newspapers, it would be good to have the Olympic games in a time zone several hours away, so that the games can remain centre in all of this. Is that such a stretch? In addition, all those close friends of Sepp Blatter in the IOC would also benefit from a time zone isolation of what will still be reeling at that point in Europe.

So, I will happily oppose Philip Hersh of the Chicago Tribune regarding “a doomed Boston bid that has been a disaster from the start“, I am not convinced, moreover, defaulting the Olympics to Boston could be the best thing. I’ll be fair, Canada might have been better, but they pulled beforehand, which gives us “Toronto’s Economic development Committee voted against bidding for the 2024 games on 20 January, citing a bid would cost the city $50 to 60 million” (Source Wiki), why does a bid cost them that much? I never really looked into that part of Olympic biddings, so the costs in that are equally disturbing, but that is for another day.

Anyway, if Toronto has an issue with 50 million (which is a truckload of cash) having them in the ground of a few billion might not be a good idea. Sydney had its Olympics in 2000, which is way too recent, from that logic I state, let Boston be the default!

Back to FIFA!

We learn today, via SBS (at http://www.sbs.com.au/news/article/2015/06/25/two-argentines-sought-us-fifa-scandal-put-under-house-arrest), that the extradition proceedings are happening and they seem to be accelerating. With guilty pleas in the bag from other members, the options for Hugo and Mariano Jinkis are dwindling down fast. Federal judge Claudio Bonadio rejected their release saying they presented a flight risk given their personal wealth, adding that until last week they had both been fugitives. Their bail which was set at $1.2 million for the both of them might be regarded as a laughing matter when we consider the 151 million Jose Hawilla forfeited, so how much funds do the Jinkis have? Perhaps an electronic tag is for them a mere inconvenience should they decide to move to a nation that will not extradite to either Argentina or the US; I am just phrasing a question here!

So as we hunt facts regarding the FIFA members involved, how come the news on the Trinidad and Tobago Guardian was not picked up anywhere internationally? That is the issue we started with, a question not answered and unlikely to get answered any day soon. There is one more part to consider, it is a part every FIFA executive fears, because with Football (read soccer) is such disarray from the FIFA point, why are the nations involved not inviting UEFA to ascertain in what depth of trouble their local sport is in? Any political move to ignore this can be countered in this as unofficial knowledge of bribes and corruption went unanswered for over a decade, we only need to look at the work of investigative journalist Andrew Jennings to see that the problem is truly Titanic in size. The added fact that one person walked away with $151 million is proof further still.  It should feel pretty comfortable for Michel Platini to see UEFA in a consideration to clean up Football. In all this, there needs to be transparency and visibility. Although I was never much of a soccer fan, to me it feels important that in all this both members of the IOC and soccer members like Michel Platini, Jean-Pierre Papin, Johan Cruyff, Marco van Basten, Alan Shearer, David Beckham and Jürgen Klinsmann to seriously sit down and see how FIFA can truly be cleaned up. I personally have zero trust in Sepp Blatter doing anything else than cover his hide at present, because when anyone sitting at the helm remaining THIS unaware of bribery and corruption for such a long time is on all fronts the wrong person to sanitise that system. I would like to add that such an investigation should be headed by three members of Royalty. Soccer is such too strong influence in Europe, to be handed to people loving the limelight for personal reasons. In this I would nominate Crown Prince Frederik of Denmark, King Willem-Alexander of Orange from The Netherlands and Princess Anne from the United Kingdom. It will requires officials and renowned players with managerial knowledge to take a harsh look at all this, having this headed by three members who have lived a life beyond reproach is equally important.

So in the end, consider that in all this, when we look from a distance, you should be appalled on how an organisation so influential in national events on a global scale is given a level of leeway that even the most powerful organised crime organisation could never ever hope for is just too unsettling. And in all this, it is all preparation, the support acts have not started yet and the main event is some time away. It is time to make a massive change and the sooner such actions begin, the better for all those passionate about sports involved.


Leave a comment

Filed under Finance, Gaming, Law, Media, Politics

More FIFA shit?

That was the very first thought I had when I found the article in the Guardian (at http://www.theguardian.com/football/2015/jun/07/russia-qatar-lose-world-cups-if-bribery-found-fifa). The article ‘Russia and Qatar may lose World Cups if evidence of bribery is found‘. Domenico Scala, the independent chairman of FIFA’s audit and compliance committee decided to open his mouth. Which sounds rude, but that is what it adds up to. You see, in all this, as I see it, nearly EVERY MEMBER of FIFA seems to ignore, or sidestep the report by Michael J. Garcia. Is it not interesting that the report called for far trivialised by FIFA and now it has been silenced? Is it remotely possible that Michael J Garcia was the only uncorrupted voice?

It seems like a hard verdict and it seems crass to say so, but I have an issue with an interim manage with massive big business ties. Many of them none too pleased with either Russia or Qatar winning the ballot. With the quote “The new evidence, obtained by the BBC, appears to show how the 2008 payments from Fifa – ostensibly for a Diaspora Legacy Programme promised by South African World Cup organisers” we do take notice, especially as BBC had been on the case of Jack Warner for a long time, but how does this connect to Russia or Qatar?

The article then shows more with the quote “‘after talking with everybody … Whose votes went where? We’re all colleagues, you know. And then we found out that actually Morocco won by two votes,’ the Sunday Times reported Bhamjee as saying“, which seems to be another worry, as I see it, one of the next world cups should then be allotted to Morocco by default, which one is hard to say, 2026 perhaps?

But the article seems to go off to the side, you see the one small quote “had also alleged bribery during the 2018-22 race” is not enough. In a river of papers, documents and evidence the issue of Russia and Qatar are now set in 9 words.

So why is the Michael J. Garcia report held back, why is Michael J. Garcia not talking? It seems with Fat Cat Sepp and loads of others gone, Garcia might become untouchable, depending on that report, so why is that kept behind closed doors? That is part of the reason why I am not willing to give Domenico Scala any leeway or trust, especially with his biopharmaceutical links and his past in Nestle and Roche. These are global players with their claws all over the place. As I stated in my earlier blog regarding FIFA, ‘is it more likely than not’ that large corporations want Qatar to go because of the hundreds of millions in advertisement that are lost because of the Qatarian situation? Having the investigator who basically sleeps in the bed of these large corporations is not a mindset put at ease. The fact that Michael Garcia has vanished in a cloud of non-publications for almost 6 months does not help matter either. The fact that the press is not all over this is even more unsettling.

Then the last sentence, which is actually quite the firecracker. You see the sentence “The Sunday Times says that it supplied the evidence to Fifa five years ago but that it had not acted on it“. Of course, the fact that it is directly linked to Rupert Murdoch does not help the case. But the issue that does play is whether this interaction is in Michael Garcia’s report does matter. You see, if Garcia has it, what were his findings? If he did not have it, the question becomes, who has been regulating the mailboxes of the FIFA members. At this point it is likely to be more than just a reference to people like Jack Warden, because whoever did that (if it was done) must have been a person who is very high up the ladder of FIFA.

The one thing that puts the people (especially the Soccer lovers) at ease is the one step that FIFA is not making, now we get a new one in ‘charge’ and we see more headlines with the mention ‘if evidence of bribery is found‘. So, is my lack of trust that hard to grasp? Overall is there any faith in FIFA at present? Not by me, I do not matter, but those who are truly passionate about soccer, those who felt the reality, which they have expected so long, it still hit them like a kick in the nuts!

They are the people Domenico Scala needs to connect to, especially if FIFA is to have any future, because the news now is just news, but son we will see day after day the issues of extradition that is being fought by those allegedly corrupt, who are in fear of future for their sphincter as they enter the US courts. Then the actual courts that will take more months and more news again and again on FIFA and corruption. If Domenico Scala wants the trust of the people, the true soccer fans, than as I see it, he has no choice but to publish the report, preferably with Michael J Garcia standing next to him vocal about every part of his report. It is not the view Hans-Joachim Eckert would like, but there are questions, questions that also include the ethics committee. So as we see the quote that BBC had on December 17th 2014 “Fifa president Sepp Blatter said: “I am surprised by Mr Garcia’s decision. The work of the ethics committee will nonetheless continue”“, in light of all the arrested and one person who resigned, how did the ethics committee continue, and did it actually continue at all?

Having someone on the ethics committee does not mean that there is an ethics committee, for that reality, one need not look any further than the UK and its view on ‘justice’ via Justice Secretary Chris Grayling. The amount of my peers that have loudly voiced their view on what the Lord Chancellor regards as legal aid, which by the way is what you usually hear when a truck drives starts shouting after a traffic jam of 18 hours, it is not healthy on the ears!

In all this, many articles and several decision only seem to fuel uncertainty, especially regarding trust of FIFA that is now getting louder. Uncertainty will lead to a more grim view on what will happen to FIFA. You see in the end, the power of soccer is Europe, which means that if enough uncertainty is voiced, someone in power will voice to secede FIFA and make UEFA the one power in Europe. FIFA might laugh now, but the large soccer nations include UK, The Netherlands, Belgium, Germany, France, Italy and Spain. If three of these, agree on that action, they can pull a host of other european nations across. Let’s not forget that 70% of the power of soccer is Europe, it is not America, Asia or Africa. So whatever is left for the world cup will diminish the ‘world cup’ into a trophy of a few nations that will soon thereafter see that all the funds of soccer remains in Europe, at that point large corporations will pull out and the 6 billion Euro dream that was will be a devaluated nightmare. That nightmare will continue with every court iteration the US goes through on corruption.

That view only polarises further when we consider the quote “He has threatened to release an “avalanche” of secrets about FIFA and its embattled president Sepp Blatter, who last week announced his intended resignation“, which was in the New York Times (at http://www.nytimes.com/2015/06/08/sports/soccer/at-center-of-fifa-scandal-a-divisive-politician-in-jack-warner.html. This ‘threat’ is not entirely impossible as Jack Warner was previously a minister of national security and transportation. So we will soon see the ‘spook’ stories in the Telegraph I reckon.

In all this, the media will become the hyena that needs feeding, if Domenico Scala is to get any handle on this, releasing the full report of Michael Garcia would be a first step. It will not matter what that report states, you see, if it is useless, it will only reflect on Michael Garcia, if it was dynamite, it will hit resigned president Sepp Blatter, but it could also have repercussions for Justice Hans-Joachim Eckert, but that would depend on the report itself. If it does show that there were issues with both Russia 2018 and Qatar 2022, well, as I stated before, let the chips fall where they may!

So as we will get more FIFA shot for a long time to come, which has a hidden treasure (if Swiss Law helps me out here).  You see, life in Switzerland is not cheap, even though he has millions, now all that money going to him will be mapped, anyone ‘helping’ him out will soon fall under the investigative scope of the US as well, due to possibility of being an accomplice. I am not stating that those people are that, but a criminal investigation is taking place. Now he is in a land where bank secrets will not help him as he is under scrutiny of extradition, in addition, Scotland Yard (who must feel humiliated as this all happened under their noses) are now looking at him 24/7 as well (a presumption on my side). Jack Warner is under a microscope whilst his sons are talking to the FBI, naming their father as a joined co-conspirator. The fun never ends, with every claim he does not pursue (the avalanche of secrets) his position becomes weaker, whatever he reveals implies his connection and it weakens him further as his former ‘friends’ will want to stay away from that toxic environment. He still gets hit, no matter what. I would think that as a former National Security minister, he would have planned his tactics a little better, but that could just be my wrongly skewed vision. Now this comes to blows with the press, I wonder what Brigadier General Alfonso will do. Now that his former colleague is accused, will the General start an investigation into the bank accounts of the agency? I am not stating that Jack Warner stole anything, but what if he used the accounts to syphon money in more than one direction, not just to receive, but to make payment. Now we have a ballgame that is more entertaining than soccer, because if that is so, than Trinidad could be touched by the FIFA scourge. If so, Jack Warner might stop fighting extradition, just to escape the wrath of Brigadier General Alfonso.

In all this, never forget the parts that matter here, there is no evidence that Jack Warner had nothing but the highest love for his Trinidad, his need for … ‘susceptibility to gifts’ does not diminish his national love or in his view his national pride, but how is it viewed by his peers and other around him? That question touches on the quote “The prime minister of this Caribbean republic walked out of a session of Parliament on Friday, angrily chastising a fellow politician and former ally, Jack Warner, who finds himself and his two sons at the center of soccer’s widespread corruption scandal” which the NY Times article started with. You see, overall corruption is not a new thing, it happens in many places, it is just a clear fact that when it gets out in the open, those persons are usually not liked anymore. The same danger he faces all over the field, which is why some of the aspects seem so funny to me. He might throw a few parties now in Switzerland, but soon he will face the reality of legal fees and cost of living, because whatever he wants to pay with will be under none stop scrutiny.

So, we will see plenty more FIFA ‘shit’, the question I have is how UEFA will act and react, because faith in FIFA could soon be at an all-time low, more important, what is Electronic Arts (EA Sports) not willing to pay for?

Leave a comment

Filed under Gaming, Law, Media, Politics

A dangerous escalation

This is a worrying moment, not just for me, but for everyone around, it should be a moment to worry. I am not talking about the Greeks (they have been extinct before), or FIFA (others are on the ball now). No it is a little more serious at present. You see last night rebels shot a scud at Saudi Arabia, which now ups the ante for all players and all allies involved. So as we see the BBC News (at http://m.bbc.com/news/world-middle-east-33033842), we also see “In a separate development, the Houthi’s have agreed to attend peace talks in Geneva“, which might be redundant now as a Scud has been fired. We can look at all the fact on how inaccurate these missiles are, but the straight complication is not just that a missile was fired, the question becomes what else do these Houthi’s have access to and at some point, We tend to get confused on what matters, I am not stating that certain elements do not matter (like humanitarian aid), but in the light of escalations, humanitarian aid seems to take a backdrop to it all. The issue of escalation will take another turn when Saudi would be forced to act in protection of its citizens. There are a few options and one of them could be the temporary annexation of Yemen as the House of Saud, in allegiance of deposed president Abdrabbuh Mansour Hadi takes a ground offensive. At that point, whatever cries for help the Houthi’s then voice, they might not receive too much support. As we look at the humanitarian part, have the involved support groups taken a census of how many of these civilian are Houthis? In addition, when this escalated further, what will be the consequences for Oman? You see, it is not just the players that are an issue, with the growing allegiance of Al Qaeda in Yemen, with the growth of Islamic State, we will see additional escalation both within Yemen, towards Saudi Arabia as well as towards the direction of Oman. What path will be taken is hard for me to tell without better intelligence on the events (there is a limit to the information that the BBC has in its possession). Beyond that is another danger that is now brewing for Saudi Arabia. No matter how they feel regarding the actions against Yemen, it has an effect in the refugee camps in Jordan, Islamic State is more and more active in recruiting the youthful adults there, with over 630,000 refugees, there is every chance that Islamic State has growing numbers not in the hundreds, but in excess of a few thousand. The additional actions of ISIS in Egypt, gives worry on the dangers for Saudi Arabia. Whether scuds are the least accurate missiles or not, it will take one missile from Eritrea to hit close enough to Mecca to make this tinderbox explode. ISIS has never made a secret regarding the capture of Mecca, the question is would they be willing to destroy it? It is an actual question, I do not know the answer. But in the time that several ‘anti-ISIS’ parties were sitting on their hands, escalations are now likely to be all over the filed, which could give Saudi Arabia the premise that they could soon be under attack from more than one side. What do you think will happen then? So, as Yemen has upped the ante with a failed missile attack, we will soon see a different theatre of War. You might think that this is the same as every other attack, but it is not. Reasoning is the following quote from Reuters “Yemen’s dominant Houthi group and its army allies fired a Scud missile at Saudi Arabia“, it is the ‘army allies’, whether valid or not, this now implies that the combatant forces of Yemen are now part of this. I used the work imply for a reason. You see, there is no guarantee that this is truly the case, it could be a collection of sympathising defectors, but Saudi Arabia does not need to take this into consideration, do they? Will it get worse? Most likely yes, but in all honesty, I expected these troops to make more active hostilities against Israel instead of escalating towards Saudi Arabia now. This thought was partially shaped by the incursions and the maintaining of presence of Islamic State in Sinai, with options towards Saudi Arabia, the Islamic State corridor becomes an economic worry for several players, least of all Israel. One source gave me “Muslim Brotherhood also offered to facilitate the entry of ISIS elements to the Egyptian territory, through the western and southern borders of Egypt, in return of ISIS helping Muslim Brotherhood to reach power again in Egypt till they control all country’s joints” I think it goes further than that, I think that there is a growing group of more radicalised members of the Muslim Brotherhood, joining the Islamic State in Sinai and from there move towards Israel and likely (based on the latest information) act against Saudi Arabia too. There is not enough evidence on how likely and how strong these actions would be, but this implies that Saudi Arabia is at least in indirect danger here, this means that Saudi Arabia has to connect with three sides. This also means that the escalations against the Islamic State members in Yemen would require a much harsher turn soon enough. The question will soon become one that America and its NATO allies must answer in more than one way. How much support will their ally Saudi Arabia receive, how much non-interference will be gained from the alliance as humanitarian aid in Yemen could be regarded as politically inconvenient. The only bright spot is that most Islamic State fighters tend to be extremely ad-hoc, so if one of them decides to make a name for himself in Israel, the Israeli air force might be forced to cut down the lifespan of Islamic State in Sinai, a chance that is not that high, whatever attacks Israel is more likely to come from Jordan, especially any attack on Eilat, which will cause other reasons of escalations all over the board. From here we must look at a BBC quote from last March. The quote is “Beyond Yemen, the Sanaa bombings underscore how the American strategy against Islamic State is lacking. The US is not degrading IS fast enough to stop its expansion, and it does not appear to have a plan for confronting IS branches in Sinai, Libya, West Africa, and now Yemen”, there are two problems with the quote. The first one is setting the quote like it should all be the US, or even about the US. This is not the case (only the premise), you see, Sinai is Egyptian turf and Egypt is not making headway here, for Sinai there is an additional complication that it cannot push its army into Sinai, because of the peace accord, which means that Islamic State can move all over buffer zone C, as long as they stay mostly out of sight. In Libya there are additional factors and Jordan is a sovereign state who is working together with the US, yet Islamic State remains a factor here. The biggest worry is that it will grow too large within the refugee community, which would escalate in many way that could cause a slaughter of many thousands of people at the drop of the wrong hat. At that point, the US will not have anywhere near the presence to act, and most likely neither will the Jordan forces. This gives us a map that becomes complicated. With Sheikh Omar Hadeed Brigade making new rocket attacks on Israel from Gaza, we must also question who is in control there, because if these attacks continue, Israel would be forced to escalate even further, especially since Ashdod was hit in a missile attack. This is where we get the issue with the quote “scuds are the least accurate missiles“, it only takes one hit for this tinderbox to be in flames and as such, we should be careful on relying on ANY peace talks at present. In my view Islamic state sees it as a weakness and whatever they do there is only to give time to prepare the next assault. So as there is a chance that both Israel and Saudi Arabia will find the risks too unacceptable and we will see how both Yemen and Gaza will fall under increased air attack. Whatever happens next will also determine how the playing parties will deal with the threats they face. In all this the greatest threat is towards the innocent refugees in Jordan as they are very likely to be in the middle of two factions, who do not care about these ‘refugees’, in all this we must face the dangers to both an Israeli and a Saudi Arabia escalation. In all this, I will not point at the US, here I point at the other NATO players who should have become active long ago, but political pressures stopped several actions. If NATO had acted stronger in the very beginning, Islamic State might not have had the support it ended up having. In May 2014, Daveed Gartenstein-Ross stated the following: “Though NATO did its job extraordinarily well, an intervention whose main purpose was saving lives may have ended up claiming more lives than it preserved; and the war certainly helped jihadist groups who are hostile to the United States and its allies while setting back U.S. regional interests“, I think that this is at the heart of a few events. The political elements who remained on the side of caution have inadvertently given strength to the situation that is now escalating. They are not the only factor, but they are a factor. That same reluctance in Syria is now cause for major problems and escalations. It is hard to see whether it would have worked out in Syria, especially with Russia in the opposing way, but we see now that there are a few more escalation on the map, escalations that would not have been there if the Syrian situation had been resolved a long time ago (no matter in which direction it was resolved). The last one is a personal view and personal assessment, which could of course be wrong. Now we get to the quote by Daveed Gartenstein-Ross. The quote was given a year ago, but the connection to now is clear when we consider the quote “He said the meeting would involve ‘consultations on implementing resolution 2216,’ which the Security Council passed in April, imposing an arms embargo on the Houthi rebels and demanded they relinquish seized territory”, which we get from the Guardian (at http://www.theguardian.com/world/2015/jun/06/dozens-killed-in-yemen-saudi-border-raids-as-peace-talks-momentum-gathers) this sounds nice in theory, but since when has Islamic State taken any notice of an arms embargo? Or taken any notice of the Security Council in any way shape or form? These ‘talks’ which basically delays definitive action will have a similar effect, no matter what the Council states, if even one missile hits a target with casualties, the Saudi air force will respond harshly and talks will break down almost immediately. So will Yemen escalate out of proportions? I reckon that answer is less than a week away, but no matter in which direction it goes, if even one of the neighbouring parties takes any action, escalations might not be impossible to stop and what happens after that will cause a Middle Eastern escalation unlike one we have seen before, as it is entirely possible that Iran will get involved undoing loads of talks in mere hours. The question becomes, who makes the first mistake here? A mistake with dire consequences for all players involved.

Leave a comment

Filed under Military, Politics

Losing Blatter control

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.


Leave a comment

Filed under Finance, Gaming, Law, Media, Politics

Condoning corruption!

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 [1947] 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

1 Comment

Filed under Finance, Gaming, Law, Media, Politics

The price of soccer

This is how I see the issues as we see the mountain of ‘complaints’ in regards to Qatar 2022. The first part is seen on the BBC site (a http://www.bbc.com/news/world-31605149). Richard Scudamore is very disappointed, which is fair enough. My issue is with his statement: ‘if the integrity of a football league has to stop for 6-7 weeks‘. Is that truly the case? The integrity of a league does not diminish when they are out playing their best for their nation in a world cup. It shows that these people, with multi million pound incomes can set it all aside to play their best for their nation. That is the simple truth of it all. So is this about FIFA, UEFA? Or is it because of advertisers? You see, those 6-7 weeks advertisers will move to the world cup, they go to where THEIR visibility lies. I think that this is a side that the football managers forgot about. When they spread the visibility of Soccer, getting more and more nations, they forgot that new members are every bit as eager to promote their national side and we can safely say that the middle east has plenty of money to invest in new stadiums.

Part of me is just a little amazed that both FIFA and its members did not see this coming. It is a sports event! In a places where for all kinds of environmental reasons, the Olympics cannot be held there, is it such a surprise that they want to show off their nation by hosting the soccer World Cup event? That what followed is still to be regarded as an episode of comedy capers, for those too young to remember, see the intro here (at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OjZMfRwsuOM), see the man at the back, that could be Martin Ivens, you remember the Sunday Times claiming to have seen all those ‘millions of documents‘ reported by Reuters on July 28th 2014? I mention parts of what was claimed in ‘Sacking the Editor?’ on November 14th 2014 (at https://lawlordtobe.com/2014/11/14/sacking-the-editor/), it could be regarded as evidence on just how much a paper tiger Independent Press Standards Organisation (IPSO) is. As mentioned before, if we go by the words of IPSO “We uphold the highest standards of journalism by monitoring and maintaining the standards set out in the Editors’ Code of Practice” than they should also be pre-emptive. Especially when allegations of corruption are being made.

Was there corruption? That question remains a valid one, but when we see “FIFA report into alleged corruption clears Qatar to host 2022 World Cup” (at http://www.theguardian.com/football/2014/nov/13/fifa-report-alleged-corruption-qatar-2022-world-cup), the mention by the Sunday Times give way to bring a forced publication of that evidence, or be hit for damages. None of that seems to have happened. In addition, we see this in The Star (at http://www.thestar.com/sports/soccer/2015/02/24/fifa-deserves-red-card-for-the-debacle-that-is-qatar-world-cup-arthur.html) “FIFA judge Hans-Joachim Eckert, who sits on FIFA’s ethics committee, reviewed the report and released a 42-page summary to the public that stated the report cleared FIFA in the awarding of the 2018 and 2022 World Cups to Russia and Qatar, respectively“.

I am not denying the facts that are, but no one seems to show evidence, which is crucial. You see, as stated before, I think this is for the larger part about something else. If we go back to the statement ‘if the integrity of a football league has to stop for 6 – 7 weeks’, is that so? How about taking a 7 week break and prolonging the season that one time? I think that these soccer players, who are making tens of thousands a week, can work an extra 8 weeks that one time. If it is about the advertisers, than it is just bad luck. You see, many people have had enough of ‘enabling’ advertisers to the max, and if this costs them a little extra this once, than live with it. It is NOT about the advertisers, it is about the sport and everyone is very adamant not to mention that ‘A’ word, or ‘sponsors’ for that matter. Is it all an inconvenience? Yes, I reckon that is the case and this is also the consequence of broadening the membership list of soccer playing nations, there is a consequence at some point. So, yes, I do agree that Qatar was never the best place, but guess what, they did the dance, they went through the motions and they got the gig! Now all others will have to program around this for once, I think that the fact, that this had been running since 1888, implies that the sport could use a little exception and a little flexibility.

This does not take away the issues that play at FIFA, there are a few issues with the Russian part, especially the ‘the Russians claimed that all e-mails relating to their bid had been wiped from the computers they used, which were rented’, I mentioned that in a previous blog too, because such levels of incompetence should not be allowed anywhere. Yet, the full report of Garcia was never given to the public at large, which gives us a few extra issues, but then, the Sunday Times under Martin Ivens blowed a lot of hot air, but then did not release any evidence of in any shape, size or form. It seems to me that this is not a good thing either.

If we accept the star with their quote “But FIFA is so powerful, so unaccountable, that the inartfulness of the lies doesn’t matter” as well as “FIFA pushes slush piles of money to federations all over the world in the form of development grants, and that secures the necessary votes to keep Blatter in power“, that we have a massive problem. You see, I have been (to some extent) on the side of Qatar, because there were allegations from many, but NO ONE presented actual evidence and all these events played like this was all about big business not getting their way. I have an issue with that! In my view, if you love soccer and it is your life, that that is fine, but when we see these pushes whilst an average soccer player gets per week what most people get per quarter, that we can agree that those people get to suck it up a little and not whinge or whine like little bitches when they suddenly get an ‘adjusted’ calendar once per 4 years, the fact that this now happens for the first time ever, they can just shut up and take it, so this once they get to experience what most workers endure on a yearly basis.

On the other side, if there is a level of unaccountability from FIFA, that it makes equal sense for ALL members of FIFA to break with FIFA and create something new, to which ALL members of FIFA are to be excluded for a few decades. See how that solves issues. The reality is that Qatar 2022 might be the only deviant event (compared to all other world cups) as a lesson for future FIFA events, in that case FIFA will have learned a lesson, but perhaps we learn another lesson too. Perhaps that environment will only fuel a global desire for soccer and in that light, premiere leagues of all nations will have to consider that once every four years there could be a different light in how that year the league is played. It might be refreshing in so many ways that it will, for some, rekindle the true love for soccer. Let’s not forget in those 6-7 weeks those players do not represent their team, they represent their nation, is that not a great thing? It should be!

In that light we should also see the response BBC sport had “The former Manchester United and Everton defender added that he would be “licking my lips” if he was England boss Roy Hodgson because “we’ll have the freshest ever national team going to a World Cup”” (at http://www.bbc.com/sport/0/football/31610300), you see, it is not all bad, I reckon that soon we will see similar responses from coaches and players in The Netherlands, Germany and Sweden.

Now consider the following quotes from the links used earlier: “The 2026 World Cup television rights in North America were awarded without a bid to Fox and Telemundo, who had complained about the Qatar schedule change, for which they hold the broadcast rights“, “Six European federations demanded Fifa clean up its act. Three top commercial backers, Coca-Cola, Adidas and McDonald’s, did so too” and “Of the 11 men who voted on 2018 and 2022 World Cups who are no longer on Fifa’s executive committee, only five provided answers to Garcia’s inquiry. Two could not be located at all“, it is clear that there are issues, especially when considering the part, ‘two could not be located at all’, is this for real? What, did that person go on a $600K cruise and there is no phone where these people are at (just one of a few options)? There is no question that there are issues on several sides, but there is still the matter of evidence, evidence that is either concealed or never found. The fact that the report was never released is also cause for concern, I do admit to that, but in law when we apply ‘is it more likely than not‘ can be just as easily applied to the large sponsors who see their return on invested revenue lessen to a small extent, taking into consideration that 2022 will be the first time (possibly the last time) that this happens brings for the question ‘why enable big business to this extent?‘ is a matter that is not and likely will not ever be answered, which is why, I currently remain on the side of Qatar. Sport is about the sport, whether it is local or nations playing, it is about the sport, not about the visibility of the sponsors. They get visibility because of sport, not the other way around. It is time big business learns that no matter what game they play, the sport itself remains untouchable, which also means that sometimes the game needs to be slightly more flexible. That part is also shown in regards to Fox and Telemundo, who complained about schedule change. Really? Complain now about an event 6 years away? If it is such an inconvenience, than give the 2022 rights to one of the free TV channels. I wonder how that channel will suddenly benefit from sponsors. If anything, this event shows me how corporate greed has been maximised within sports, an upsetting issue.

Leave a comment

Filed under Media, Politics