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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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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

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