Tag Archives: Hans-Joachim Eckert

Oman’s neighbour

You might remember the state of Oman, capital Muscat. There are several reasons to remember Oman, the fact that they got into the news last March with: “The Central Bank of Iran has allowed lenders to issue guarantees for Iranian businesses planning to invest in Oman or those who seek to take out loans from Omani banks” is merely one reason. The fact that they are next to Yemen is the actual reason to mention them. You see, when you look at Amnesty International, you see (at https://www.amnesty.org/en/latest/news/2015/09/yemen-the-forgotten-war/) the quote “On 25 March 2015, an international coalition led by Saudi Arabia launched air strikes against the Huthi armed group in Yemen sparking a full-blown armed conflict. Over the following three years, the conflict in Yemen is showing no real signs of abating. Horrific human rights abuses, as well as war crimes, are being committed throughout the country by all parties to the conflict, causing unbearable suffering for civilians” is the issue. Now, let’s be clear, Amnesty International is not lying to you, but the setting that led to it is equally important. The missing part is: “Houthi forces controlling the capital Sana’a and allied with forces loyal to the former president Ali Abdullah Saleh have clashed with forces loyal to the government of Abdrabbuh Mansur Hadi, based in Aden“, the setting is ‘former president Ali Abdullah Saleh‘ versus ‘deposed president Abdrabbuh Mansur Hadi‘, deposed by the Houthi’s who had instigated a Coup d’état. I will admit that it is more complex than that (or better stated there are additional unmentioned facts here), yet the forced deposing of the then president Abdrabbuh Mansur Hadi is still an issue; he went for help towards his allies.

That part is an important part that is missing. After that things went from bad to worse with on the frontlines Iran using Hezbollah enabling the deniable launching of missiles on Saudi Arabia, that is a clear setting and this escalation has no sign of letting up or slowing down.

Now we get the setting that Bloomberg is giving us. the setting (at https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2018-07-26/yemen-rebels-say-they-attacked-abu-dhabi-airport-with-drones), with the headline ‘Yemen Rebels Say They Attacked Abu Dhabi Airport With Drones‘, the issue is not merely that they have access to drones, the setting of the Iranian missiles and the fact that the Houthi’s are attacking both Saudi Arabia and the UAE (which is denied by the UAE) gives rise to other parts. with the quote “The source confirmed that the drone, Sammad 3, begun its operations by targeting Abu Dhabi International Airport with several raids, in response to the UAE crimes against Yemen” gives rise to the setting that this is no longer merely a Houthi versus the world setting, the entire premise that not only was there a new Drone developed, the Sammad 3 is also actively attacking the UAE, the question becomes is this done via Saudi Arabia, or via Oman, not merely transgressing on their sovereign land, but is it done whilst some in either government was aware? The direct path via Saudi Arabia makes more sense as there is a whole lot of nothing in that region. The second question becomes: why strategically deploy in this way? We might accept that whatever the Yemeni have is nowhere near what the US has, so it will be less than $12M per drone, but how much less is it?

In addition, what is the operational ability of the Sammad 3 (the speculated drone in question)? When you look into the timeline that one announcement comes after the announcement of the Sammad 2, whilst increasing the operational support 10 fold is also suspicious on a few levels. You see, every system increases as becomes better, but 1000% increase is a little much by any standard. Even as we accept that some strategies are better than others, Middle East Eye gives us: “Since the Saudi-led coalition launched its war in Yemen in March 2015, the UAE has been a key player. Yet, while Riyadh’s goal has been to restore President Abd Rabbuh Mansour Hadi to power and crush the Houthi uprising, Abu Dhabi has focused more on the south, training security forces to secure its own geopolitical ambitions“, in this we might question some actions, and they are to some extent, yet the overbearing issue is that there is an Iranian finger in this pie. Only 14 weeks ago we were treated to: “The Yemeni government says that Iran supplied the Houthi rebels with drones used to attack Saudi Arabia. On Wednesday, Riyadh said it shot down two drones in the south of the country and intercepted ballistic missiles launched by the Houthi forces in Yemen. The drones are “made in Iran”, said Yemen’s internationally-recognised government on Saturday. It added that the country’s military did not possess such aircraft and it was “impossible to manufacture them locally””, this not directly contradicts the Bloomberg news by Mohammed Hatem. You cannot erect a drone solution in this short a time span, not even if you had all the Viagra in the world, so the tool erected setting of Iran trying new tools in the political and escalating statement arena regarding ‘drone strikes’ is more than an issue. When we see the news given from Almasirah Media Network with ‘Air Force Unveils New Drone, Sammad 3‘, are they the tool or, was the statement by The National who by their own words are ‘committed to serving the local UAE community‘ misled and they are misleading the UAE community? You see one of the two is true, not both. No matter which path is the real one, it is my personal opinion that none of this existed without Iran, they are in the middle of this and the other media sources are trying to steer clear as some are trying to ‘save’ an illusionary deal with Iran that was never a real prospect to begin with. No matter which one is true, the Yemeni population remains in the middle of it all. there is a second side to this, the events in the red Sea where a tanker was hit is now stopping transfer of oil via the Bab el-Mandeb strait, potentially upping oil prices. It is a clear intentional push for the US to get involved, especially after we were told “A huge tanker with a shipment of oil from Saudi Arabia bound for Egypt was damaged by a missile attack from the northern Bab el-Mandeb strait in the Red Sea. The Houthi rebels in Yemen, armed and financed by Iran, were responsible for the attack. It happened in the wake of the renewed exchange of threats between the United States and Iran, which could also hurt the oil market” (source: Haaretz), in addition we got “Iran’s Quds force chief Qassem Soleimani said on Thursday that the Red Sea was not secure with the presence of American troops in the area”, so there is a much louder setting that Iran is willing to escalate towards direct outspoken war. I reckon that as Europe is becoming meaningless, the direct involvement of Iran will turn defeat to victory. That is not only not given, there is every chance that the UAE and Saudi Arabia will make a united front, in addition, the naval actions could be bad times for Egypt, so there would be additional support for Saudi Arabia and the UAE. The questions will soon become, where does Qatar stand in all this and what are their options. They have their own worries as accusations more and more ridiculous are hitting the media. It seems that the Sydney Morning Herald is becoming the joke of independent journalism, whilst merely parroting that idiot Martin Ivens (as I personally see him in all this) on “In article published by The Sunday Times alleges the Qatar bid team used a PR agency and former CIA operatives to disseminate fake propaganda about its main competitors, the United States and Australia“, whilst the Sunday Times still has not given the people the millions of documents he stated he had with the previous accusations, so we can all optionally agree that Nine Networks is now wearing the pants in the new merger. That matters, because some are not merely tailoring to the needs of places like (censored name of sponsor), they are setting the stage for unsolicited change and through these events they are adding needlessly to pressures in the Middle East.

Pressures that need avoidance because the expression ‘If you have to fight, fight like a cornered cat‘ is a role that Qatar could be pushed into. I actually prefer the Dutch version of that expression which is ‘A cornered cat can move very unpredictable‘, that is more worrying, because the unsubstantiated accusation are an actual issue on a few levels now. so when we see “the alleged smear campaign included paying a professor $US 9,000 to write a damning report on the economic cost of a US World Cup, recruiting journalists and bloggers to promote negative stories in the US, Australian and international media, and organising grassroots protests at rugby matches in Australia“, we demand to see that report, as well as all other evidence; we need to be shown clearly where the lies in that report were as well as the other evidence. Is that not simple? Show us the ACTUAL evidence!

All these settings are important. We can vocally set the stage against Iran (like I am doing with both evidence as well as a comic look at the two images earlier), and I can look at the presented and i am using the published details available to me with all the settings that are open to the audience at large. I never proclaim to have all the wisdom in the world, yet hiding behind ‘unnamed sources’ and ‘unpublished evidence’ like the Sunday Times, whilst I regard them because of that as nothing more than a mere courtesan to sponsors, that is how I see their actions, when the need to investigate FIFA was there, these media buffs were all about the hooker in the bookcase, the entire setting of the media had become questionable. The setting of the Garcia report, whilst the newspapers and media failed to hammer down on Hans-Joachim Eckert, so when we got the ‘refused to publish on various legal grounds‘, who went after Hans-Joachim Eckert? the entire matter also involved the Qatar 2022 cup bids, so as it stands, we need to make sure that places like the Sunday Times and the SMH are now also optionally the spreaders of Fake News, but that is apparently not the case when they have their unnamed sources.

Even as I spoke out in the end against Qatar 2022, it is only because of the stage that Qatar found itself in. It is not up to me who got them there, some was all their own doing, but a larger part was the act of smear campaigns that we see now. Almost four years of smear campaigns. If we are to actually do something about it, then EVERY newspaper is to offer the 350-page report of Michael J. Garcia from September 2014 on their website with a full page 3 summary of the report. That is the first moment that we can start taking journalists serious again (possibly with the Sun as the one exception). It is my view that anyone who was part of misleading regarding Qatar, or in the other direction supporting in falsehood the Qatar bid should be barred for life from every official sport event. It is the only way and that is merely the one side-track that the Yemen situation now calls for. With Iran upping the stakes in Yemen and with alleged drone strikes on UAE and actual attacks on Saudi Arabia, how long until one of them sees a reason to lash out against Qatar? You see, the plot is also thickening when we see the Iran increasing non-oil trade with Oman by 136% in the last quarter alone. That is half a billion in value, now we can agree that every nation has and needs trade, so I would be the last one to state against it, yet there is every indication that Iran is trying to set the mood fir additional change. Some will remember the setting last year when we were offered “Bank Melli Iran and Bank Saderat Iran will resume their operations in the Omani capital Muscat which had halted during the sanctions that cut off Iran from the international financial network“, this is now seen against the news from March when we saw ‘Iran, Oman resolute to grow banking relations’ with the additional quote “Drafting an operational and practical program with opening joint accounts based on the national currencies of Iran and Oman, independent from foreign currencies, should be considered as one of the requirements of developing banking relations“, so what happens, when the setting of the national currencies becomes the foundation of a credit swap where oil is the determined value? It is merely one step away and the US crying for cheap oil is that one element that could make it happen. The US not acting against Oman, whilst knowingly allowing for the swapping of Iranian originated oil based CDO’s is not that far stretched, is it?

Now we have billions in funds, an operational drone team and additional Hezbollah populists trying to set the stage in Yemen. there is support for that view (to the smallest extent), Arab News two weeks ago gave us: “Yemen’s foreign minister has called on Lebanon’s caretaker government to “rein in” Hezbollah and its aggressive tactics in support of the Iranian-backed Houthi militia“, whilst in addition, whilst the National gave us last week: “The UAE Embassy in Beirut has denied claims made by Lebanon’s pro-Hezbollah Al Akhbar newspaper regarding an “Emirates Leaks” report that says Abu Dhabi is applying pressure on Muscat over the Qatar crisis. The embassy has called the leaked diplomatic correspondence from the UAE Embassy in Muscat “false” and said that it was aimed at creating tension with Oman“. We need to realise that the two are unrelated articles are merely that. One has apples, the other pears and the fact that they both represent pieces of fruit is no evidence, changing one of them into oranges does not behold additional truth that should be clear. Yet the stage where Iran decided to increase trade by 136% is a shown fact and Iran has been doing something similar with Turkey which has not given Turkey an additional amount close to $5 billion in the last 6 months alone. Iran is setting a trade stage where in the end, in light of their devaluation and monetary value can soon (or already) only be honoured with oil, how quaint!

It is not merely the plans in place, it is the funding that these projects require, that is where it seems to make sense, but it is not a given that those are the only paths that are being trodden. You see, there is still the Uranium enrichment program that is worked on. With those in the works, we see the need for serious amounts of cash, skills and equipment, all that from a setting where the infrastructure was no longer able to meet the financial needs and the commitment from Iran towards Yemen by the Iranian commander in chief shows that the next step is not that far away, they will need resources and there is now at least a partial setting in place where the facilitation is close to complete. From my point of view, lowering the pressures on Qatar allows Qatar to walk away from Iran as far as possible limiting the options that Iran has, and that is an essential requirement at present.

Even as we see several sources give us lines like: ‘Oman and Kuwait has taken a neutral position in the dispute involving Qatar‘, I am actually less and less convinced that Oman is completely neutral in all this. Is the trade merely growing sympathy in Oman, or is news from places like Sarfayt and Dhalkut changing the sentiment that the people in Oman have? I actually do not know, but something seems to be stirring in Oman, perhaps it is not a pro-Iran feeling, merely a lessened anti-Iran sentiment, they are not the same. What does matter is that all this is escalating giving Iran more options in Yemen, to counter that outside of a full scale event in Yemen is to take away the available fuel that Iran has and I think that removing pressure from Qatar is a first step in all this. Should this be successful, we might see a setting where Oman feels less comfortable having strong ties with Iran, which seems to serve everyone’s purpose (except Iran of course).

 

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When we shift the sands

Sit down and consider a simple question: ‘When was the last time you got played?‘ Not by some sexual partner you wanted, or some deal where the profit remained absent, not the kind that truly takes life’s pleasure away (for a lot of people), the kind where we see that whatever sport you love to watch, being it the NBA, NFL, NHL, IFL, Premiere League or Cricket. When was the time you sat down and knowingly were watching a game that was rigged? How much fun will you have when you start watching the game, knowing it was rigged by others who have profit in mind? How much fun will that game be to you than? Not after the fact, but you in this example you get to know the game has been rigged before the start. How much fun will the game be at that point? To give a slightly better illustration, There was an earlier article by me on March 19th 2014 when I wrote ‘Any sport implies corruption!‘, which dealt with some of the parts of the Qatar 2022 allegations. In there I refer to several links that give us the initial important quotes: “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“. This is how the sport becomes a joke and a mere vassal for corruption and commercial exploitation. Now consider the fact that a person gets the ‘honour’ to become an official, elected to give a vote on who would be the best nation to represent soccer, there are not small people, they tend to be directly linked to captains of industry, the kind that are on the Forbes 500 list. So when we see ‘Two could not be located at all‘, my pondering becomes ‘Who got them assassinated?’ You see assassinating a person is simple, getting rid of the body evenly so, the trick is to know the rules of evidence and not leave any for the prosecution. The Qatar allegations implied a new shot to a billion dollar industry. If these people ask questions, YOU WILL BE FOUND!

The entire mess left me with a bad taste in my mouth.

The BBC comment (at http://www.bbc.com/news/av/world-31605149/2022-world-cup-scudamore-very-disappointed-with-decision), shows bigotry and greed all in one setting, with “Premier League Chief Executive Richard Scudamore has said that he is “very disappointed” with the recommendation of a Fifa taskforce to hold the 2022 World Cup in Qatar in November and December. Mr Scudamore told the BBC that the European leagues felt let down, both by Fifa and Uefa“, it is bigotry because it shows plain intolerance for those in different time zones and seasons. And these people are back in the game now!

In addition, there are still issues with the Sunday Times on that. At the time, also quoted by CNN (as stated at https://lawlordtobe.com/2014/07/28/the-old-reasons/), in ‘The Old Reasons‘ we see “We’ve seen millions of documents that prove without a shadow of doubt that corruption was involved. There is clear evidence linking payments to people who have influence over the decision of who hosted the World Cup“, were these people ever subpoenaed, was the evidence, if not, were the editors prosecuted in any way shape or form? No, they were not and nothing was given or achieved. Some of the players understood that the price might be too high. As the FIFA got rid of their corrupt bladder, or is that Sepp Blatter? We now see a second push. Suddenly FIFA found a former president to fall on his sword. Consider that NOW; we see that there are allegations that Nicholas Sarkozy took bribes regarding Qatar 2022. The timing is almost flawless, you see, this will not be a long event, some of the players like the Lard dealer McDonald’s and his clown, The fuzzy dilution to sugar, namely Coca Cola and credit hog system Visa are all about maximising their potential, that is not possible in Qatar, and as such they need it changed and it can only be done if the switch is in weeks, not months. I reckon that these players will ‘suddenly’ give loads of support to whomever takes over, which might be likely the US. I am speculating that if Qatar is suddenly deprived for other reasons, we will see that Atlanta will become the winner (Morocco was never a realistic player on their bid), and guess what, Atlanta will within a few months claim that they can push the event ahead and would be able to get 2 years ahead of schedule. The one nation that has been unable to keep time lines and budgets for DECADES is now suddenly achieve the ability to be ahead of schedule. Now, this is pure speculation, yet in light of ‘sudden allegations‘ which implies an actual need for evidence, evidence that was never available in 2014 and 2015 is suddenly there in 2017? That is beside the joke that the Sunday Times (mainly their editor Martin Ivens) has proven to be with ‘We’ve seen millions of documents‘, I doubt that, I very much if he even looked at 1% of that amount of documents in his studies to get to his A levels, so there is that!

My anger is not about him, I don’t know him. It is the blatant level of facilitation that is shown towards big business and media needs, the sports fan be damned. The media REFUSED to do anything about Sepp Blatter for the longest of times. They did whatever they could to minimise the people of being exposed to Andrew Jennings, the investigative reporter in all this. When you Google ‘Andrew Jennings‘ and FIFA in Google, see how much news comes up, see how the media skates around the central person who exposed the levels of corruption that FIFA had embraced, you’ll find very little. These are part of the shifting sands. I reckon that the entire Saudi-Qatar pressures have not helped any. It merely opened the door for big business to see if they can push towards their advantage.

It is the Australian Financial Review that gives us “Sarkozy’s lawyer, Thierry Herzog, denied any wrongdoing by his client and pointed out that Garcia’s report stated “no evidence was found” linking Platini’s vote with any investments. A source claimed the investigation was “politically motivated”. A spokeswoman for the National Financial Prosecutor’s Office said that they were “carrying out two separate preliminary inquiries” into the Veolia deal and the Qatar World Cup bid“, in this there are two parts. The question why there is a political motivation regarding a former president (there might be, I just wonder how political it could be). The second part is that there had been several issues with the Garcia report first it was withheld, then there was only a summary and after that he leaves. Several sources gave us “Head of the investigatory chamber of FIFA’s Ethics Committee, Michael Garcia, has resigned from his post after FIFA’s Disciplinary Committee dismissed his appeal against the summary of the 430-page report that Hans Joachim Eckert, head of the Ethics Committee’s adjudicatory chamber, issued on 13 November 2014.In the appeal, Garcia calls Eckert’s summary of his report on the 2018/2022 World Cup bidding process “incomplete and erroneous”.“, which happened around the 17th of December 2014. So now the report is merely used, merely observed or neither? In all this Joachim Eckert has played a role to some extent, the summary can be seen as evidence on that. In all usage there are several more questions and we had seen a lot of mentions at the time. The fact that Joachim Eckert was pretty much thrown out of the building in May 2017 implies that there is a chance he had the option, and opportunity (a speculative statement) to ‘foul’ plenty of other parts, giving more and more questions regarding the actions of Qatar, I am willing to go as far as to state that none of the evidence should be allowed into any court or be used in any decision until a board that includes Andrew Jennings and Michael J. Garcia and that board would have to investigate every piece of evidence offered. In addition, if any evidence is found that gives rise (not necessarily proves) that McDonald’s, Coca Cola and Visa had any hand in any of these events, they must be banned as FIFA advertiser and sponsor for 15 years, see if that refocusses their need for greed!

I admit that my emotions are getting the better of me, and I also agree that this is not a good thing. The shifting sands of greed and corruption have gone too far. It is bad enough to see corporate greed in your almost daily life. It is quite another when the sport has become so commercialised that corporations and the media decide on how the sport is played beyond the levels they were already doing it nowadays. You see it is the Financial Times who gave us some of the goods yesterday (at https://www.ft.com/content/36f8ceca-76d2-11e7-90c0-90a9d1bc9691). In this we might notice ‘Gulf media unleashes war of words with Qatar‘, and in addition we see ‘Saudi-led alliance weaponises satellite channels after exhausting diplomatic arsenal‘, yet someone has been considering the longer play and the impact that depriving Qatar 2022 might be. I think that this was short sighted by those players. I always believed that sports could unite disagreeing parties, pushing sport away limits the options for all parties in this. I also believe that the players in Saudi Arabia made an error, a serious one. When we consider “Riyadh and its allies escalated the crisis so rapidly that they have few left themselves with few realistic options to apply more pressure on Qatar, the top exporter of liquefied natural gas” as well as “Some Saudi journalists say they have come under government pressure to criticise Qatar. One Saudi editor described how officials have been using a mobile phone messaging group to instruct journalists on how to shape coverage and what stories to focus on. “These are orders, not suggestions,” he says“. The issue is seen in other ways, not the ways stated in the article. In this Ahmed Al Omran made the flaw that he did not consider (my personal view). You see, I never much looked into the matter of Saudi Television, mainly because I do not speak the language (or live there) and I reckon that the stations do not come with subtitles, which is fair enough. So when I quote the Wiki statement “State-run television consists of four channels: Saudi One, the main channel in Arabic launched in 1963; Saudi Two, an English language channel; Al Riyadiah, a sports channel; and the news channel Al Ekhbariya. Government-owned terrestrial television has changed little since 1969” that was what I expected to see. Even as Saudi Arabia has over 30 million people, the idea of these stations was not shocking in any way. The UK merely had BBC one and two for a much longer time frame. Yet, then I looked up and found MBC, the Middle East Broadcasting Center, when we look at that we see a lot more. At http://www.mbc.net/en.html (there is an English version) we see something more commercial looking, we see opportunity for Saudi Arabia. Not the mention of “how to shape coverage and what stories to focus on. “These are orders, not suggestions,”“, that is where the flaw is. To change it Saudi Arabia should have been creating its own Al-Jazeera, they forgot the truth and freedom of the press is the double edged sword that works for any nation. As people decide to censor and shape news, not report it, they become the one not being watched. If exposure is power than exposing media corruption is the strongest most powerful exposure we know. It is the kryptonite against governments that play the crooked media game, often the governments are no longer in charge, the media decides and they tend to decide whatever their sponsors and stakeholders tell them to. We have seen that time and time again, I have reported (read: blogged) on this again and again. In all this, the level of exposure is the calibre that turns any BB gun into the deadly weapon it needs to be. So as we see an escalating play using peaceful means, the players forgot that there are many more millions watching and some do not know all the facts, I reckon that there are many in Saudi Arabia, Bahrain and Egypt are only apprised of the Al-Jazeera view. I am not stating it is a wrong or incorrect view. Yet the reality is that there are always three sides to a story, your side, their side and the truth, because the truth when spoken (or written) is always smitten with elements of compassion, valor or honesty. We see this in ‘A man threw another man into the sand‘, yet when we realise that the truth unspoken was that the man saw the scorpion, or he saw that his bisht caught fire, only then do we see that one man did not throw, the other man was not thrown. We see that there was an act to protect and safe a life. It is a very simplified example, but there tends to be points of view in any truth, the question is which exposure matters? Al-Jazeera grew as there was no alternative. We now know that there could be competition, as the west in equal measure have grown tired and distrustful of Fox News, CNN, TRT World and a few others, we see that there are still places to grow. Yet in this ‘These are orders, not suggestions’ will not carry weight in the visibility of any news channel.

The shifting sands are treacherous and offer dangers, yet in equal measure they offer opportunity to those who see them as such. We see how large corporations are taking whatever steps they can, try to get every opportunity, whilst hoping to manoeuvre their competitors into a place where they step and the sands drown them. That is the game and how it is played, yet at times we see that large corporations have been taking their game too far and as such, when they trespass on the things we hold for granted and holy, than we see the injustice and we demand clarity. In this large corporations try to make the moves that remain always one step away from that. The fact that we see these attempts against Qatar 2022, has nothing to do with Qatar, they have to do with the process they set up, large corporations demand that they win every time, so now, when they will not win, but at best play even, now we see the petulant children they are and the consequences of enabling them to the extent that they have been. Many (not just me) are upset. For the most they are not all soccer fans. Some merely want facilitation of as many games as possible, every day another match and as there is an overlap, some of the participators now get upset, they go into tantrum mode. Yet the realisation that you grew the exploitation game with 209 FIFA members, did they not expect that they would get the losing ticket at least once? So when it is not Qatar, but Samoa or Cuba? What happens then? What happens when Mauritius gets the sponsors it needs to host, how will that upset everything? This is the part that everyone ignored, because those nations could not afford to host, yet Qatar was another matter altogether. This is the first time that the exploitative engine that is FIFA, saw the cogs they designed work against them. Now there is an issue and we see that several players are in a state of panic, there were no options but to lose this one round. The pressures through Saudi Arabia have changed panic into opportunity; they just need the right person to fall on their sword. The question is how willing is Nicholas Sarkozy in all this and who is the party that voiced the allegations? Where is their evidence? These are all questions that are more likely than not to come with false answers, that is, until the games are done, we can expect some sudden revelation, humble apologies and carefully phrased denials and innuendo from politicians and media soon thereafter (likely at the immediate same time). Their question would be closed soon after the need of their assassinations. Oh, my bad! I meant to say: “The involved parties could not be located for comments and response in any way shape or form“, apparently that is how events are shaped with and because of large corporations.

 

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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?

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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.

 

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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.

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