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World Cups and FIFA – “For the Good of the Gain”?

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posted on May, 31 2014 @ 07:13 PM

FIFA’s Code of Ethics, Article 3
‘Officials may not abuse their position . . . especially to take advantage of their function for private aims or gains.’

With the World Cup in Brazil rapidly approaching I thought it might be the right time to point out to those who follow ‘the beautiful game’ exactly how football’s ultimate governing body FIFA has operated in the last 40 years.

FIFA (Fédération Internationale de Football Association) runs global football, the most popular sport in the world. It has more members (209) than the United Nations (193). It has an annual revenue of (2013) $1.2bn and reserves of $1.4bn. The game globally generates in excess of $30bn a year in income.

Unfortunately FIFA, the governing body seems to have been one of the most corrupt, unscrupulous and dishonest organisations on the planet, outside of the world of organized crime. FIFA seem happy to turn a blind eye to slave labour, homophobia and even the game itself when there is easy cash to be made...

This is nothing new and has been going on for at least 40 years. The scandals and underhand methods of some of the men in charge are not even closely guarded secrets. They have been reported in the media time after time but for most people involved in the sport too many are unwilling and/or powerless to do anything about it.

The oligarchs that run FIFA have been allowed to exploit the weaknesses of FIFAs statutes for their own personal financial gain like modern day mafia bosses. Basically it works like this. FIFA makes billions from sponsorships and selling TV rights for the World Cup. Various sums of this money are used as “development” grants to grease the palms of the members of the national associations. Some of it is genuinely used to help football at grass roots level in developing nations. However much of it gets siphoned off.

The guy, who visits FIFAs Executive Committee to make his case for financial support of his national association, is left with the option of not upsetting the boat and gaining funds, or else his lack of support means he leaves with nothing. Too many of the member associations are quite happy with this arrangement as they see it as wealth redistribution from rich countries whilst also ignoring the backhanders and corruption of the executives.

FIFA officials also hide behind their own rule that national governments should not interfere with the running of the national football associations or they will face “sanctions”. Thus avoiding interference from, the almost equally, morally bankrupt world of politics.
Now you may think that the more powerful and wealthy associations would do something about all of this as the years have passed. They have chosen not to for a number of reasons. The main one being that the one nation, one vote neatly keeps the European giants from dictating policy even if they chose to stick together. Another is that these nations are not free from scandal and controversy themselves down the years.

The seeds of the problem lie way back in time with a growing realisation in Europe that, despite being the home of football, as more and more nations joined the FIFA ‘family’ they were being outmanoeuvred politically because of the one member one vote rule.

By the 1960s FIFA was seen as being very Euro-centric in the Americas and emerging nations and unwilling to assist the growth of the game elsewhere. An Englishman, Sir Stanley Rous, had been in charge of FIFA throughout the 1960s but was seen as a man out of time by his opponents. Whilst trying to appear neutral and non-political he made a series of decisions that had serious ramifications.

Firstly the refusal to offer more than a single place to the nations from Africa and Asia at World Cup finals reinforced the view that FIFA was run by old European colonial minds as winds of change began to blow across those continents. In 1958 the CAF (Confederation of African Football) had banned the South Africans from their own continental competition because of the insistence of fielding either all black or all white teams. Rous felt he should not show a political stance and re-admitted South Africa back into the fold. This lack of sensitivity and apparent ignorance of the horrors of apartheid had already begun to loosen the Europeans hold on FIFA. In 1966 Africa had 15 nations keen and ready to qualify but felt aggrieved that FIFA would not grant an automatic place to their continent and boycotted the tournament en masse.

Rous began to listen and even talked of expanding the World to accommodate Africa.

However it was too little too late. Resistance from outside of Europe to Rous was growing stronger. By the 1970s he had also made enemies within Europe.

continues below >>>>

edit on 31/5/14 by mirageman because: edit

posted on May, 31 2014 @ 07:15 PM
In 1973 the Soviet Union were due to contest a playoff game in Chile. Chile was then under the rule of the Augusto Pinochet. Pinochet was the military dictator who had overthrown a democratically elected socialist government in the country. Not only that the national stadium the Soviets were due to play in had been used by Pinochet to imprison and torture left wing political dissenters. Rous made a grave error in pointing to the FIFA statutes that forbade political influence and refused to move the match to a neutral venue.

The Soviets chose not to turn up in protest (although their failure to win their home game may also have had something to do with this).

By now though Rous had rubbed far too many nations up the wrong way despite seeing a need to expand the game globally he was still expressing elitist views that ended his reign. Rous was undimmed in his belief developing nations did not deserve the same rights within the global game:

Many people are convinced that it is unrealistic, for example, that a country like England, where the game started and was first organised, or that experienced countries like Italy and France, who have been pillars of FIFA and influential in its problems and in world football affairs for so many years, should have no more than equal voting rights with any of the newly created countries of Africa and Asia.

Even in the much different era to today Ydnekatchew Tessema (head of African football) ,found this patronising to say the least.

Although we acknowledge the role played by certain continents in the creation of FIFA, its development and their moral, material and financial contributions, we estimate that democratic rule dictates that all rights and duties that form an international organisation should be the same for all. This is why in the framework of legitimacy, and by following a process consistent with the interests of world football and its unity, a progressive equilibrium of the representation in the heart of FIFA and its competition is required.

At the FIFA General Election, Rous, was defeated by Joao Havelange. Havelange, was a former Brazilian Olympic athlete, who had cunningly won votes by making promises for a number of reforms. He achieved this by personally visiting many of the emerging nations. More places at World Cup Finals would be offered and with it more cash for developing the game across the globe. Rous was ousted and an age of European dominance was replaced with a new one of blatant commercialism and financial corruption.

Under Havelange, FIFA enlarged the World Cup finals from 16 to 24 nations in 1982 (it grew to 32 nations in 1998). Something Rous had already proposed before the 1960s were out. This allowed more teams from Asia, Africa and the North/Central Americans and Caribbean regions into the finals. He also enlisted Coca-Cola and Adidas as the major sponsors of World Cup tournaments and saw global TV rights sales increase exponentially on his watch. FIFA has handed out nearly $1bn into football poverty projects and almost $0.5bn as part of its Financial Assistance programs.

All well and good.

However Havelange, along with his then son in law, Ricardo Teixeira (a powerful man in Brazilian football), were part of a scandal involving bribes to the tune of $22m from ISL. ISL were a sports marketing company that worked closely with FIFA in the 1990s, buying broadcast rights on multimillion-dollar contracts and selling them on.

FIFA have finally published a Swiss court dossier showing Teixeira received around $13 million from 1992-97 in payments from ISL, which collapsed into bankruptcy in 2001. Havelange received a payment of around $1m in 1997 whilst still FIFA president. The report claims :

Havelange and his former son-in-law Teixeira ''unlawfully used assets entrusted to (them) for (their) own enrichment several times.''

Although current President of FIFA Sepp Blatter was not accused of any wrong doing his role was labelled “clumsy”.
The report also states that in 1997, Blatter authorised the transfer of 1.5m Swiss francs to Havelange after ISL mistakenly sent it to FIFA.

Blatter, who was then general secretary of the organisation, told the investigation at that time he did not suspect the payment was a commission.

He said: "Back then, such payments could even be deducted from tax as a business expense. Today, that would be punishable under law.”

Blatter refuses to reveal his own earnings, self created loyalty payments, bonuses, expense accounts and other perks as he believes such disclosure would be ‘against custom and practice in Switzerland’. None of the 23 men who are Blatter’s Executive Committee (ExCo) have even so much as raised an eyebrow. Nor do the officials of the 200-plus national associations seem concerned by his lack of transparency. FIFA’s headquarters are conveniently located in Switzerland where until very recently commercial bribery was not even an offence.

The story doesn’t end there.

edit on 31/5/14 by mirageman because: edit

posted on May, 31 2014 @ 07:19 PM
Jack Warner

Warner was, until recently, a FIFA Vice President and head of the awkwardly named CONCACAF region (The Confederation of North, Central American and Caribbean Association Football ).Warner was also a major player in the sports administration, economics and politics of Trinidad and Tobago.

The first recorded ‘transgression’ by Warner goes back to 1989 when the USA visited Trinidad for a vital World Cup qualifying match. The stadium capacity was 29,000 – but Warner printed and sold 45,000 tickets creaming off the proceeds whilst thousands of fans were unable to gain entry. No one blinked an eyelid.

There have been many other occasions where circumstantial evidence points to Warner and more ticket racketeering. However more hard evidence exists in print. FIFA auditors Ernst & Young revealed how Warner and his son Daryan illegally amassed a fortune from tickets for the World Cup in Germany 2006 in a confidential report.

The Warners began operations in June 2005, using their own private Simpaul travel company in Trinidad to strike secret deals to sell thousands of packages of rooms and tickets to agents around the world. They sourced the tickets directly through FIFA and the illegally sold them on at vastly inflated prices breaking the FIFA code of ethics. No one inside FIFA took any action or even filed a complaint.

In 1990, 1994 and 1998 Warner also bought the World Cup TV rights via his company from FIFA for the Caribbean region for the sum of $1 courtesy of his friend (and FIFA president) Joao Havelange and sold them on for $millions. This was finally revealed in a confidential report produced by General Secretary Michael Zen-Ruffinen on the eve of the 2002 World Cup in Asia.

Sepp Blatter was also featured prominently in this report, being accused of taking over the management of the organization in an illegal manner and manipulating it for the benefit of third party organizations. Zen-Ruffinen was fired soon after. Blatter meanwhile remains the sole authority within FIFA to sign FIFA cheques without the approval of his staff or colleagues. A policy that has as yet remained unchallenged.

Unbelievably, Warner also refused the Trinidad World Cup 2006 squad around £20 million owing to them from sponsors and TV sales.

Trinidad & Tobago in World Cup action Germany 2006

How did he get away with it?

Well with Warner controlling a fair number of votes (35) for FIFA Presidential elections and also the bidding for world cup hosts no one in the cosy world of FIFA dared make waves. An unhealthy status quo has prevailed for decades.

Finally we come to the voting for Qatar as World Cup hosts for 2022 and even Russia for 2018. Whilst the FIFA report placed Qatar and Russia as the two highest risk locations both nations won the right to host the biggest football tournament in the world. Five days after the announcement of the winning bidders to host those tournaments Jack Warner was paid around $1m from a company controlled by former Qatari football official and executive committee member Mohamed Bin Hammam. A man he also switched his support to and away from Sepp Blatter for the role as next FIFA president.

As a vast nation with a rich footballing history a case can be made for Russia to host a World Cup. Despite its current questionable regime. Qatar however is a small desert nation with no football heritage, no clubs or players of any repute, a dubious human rights record and most importantly of all where summer temperatures are dangerously high. If you can’t take the heat well................take the money.

That seems to be the commonly perceived view of how Qatar won the right to host the World Cup.

A number of the old FIFA executive committee have now resigned from their posts Bin Hammam and Warner amongst them. New York lawyer Michael J. Garcia has been appointed Chairman of the investigatory chamber of the FIFA Ethics Committee. He has been put in charge of investigating the allegations of corruption surrounding FIFA.

However it seems that even now there are still reports of elements within FIFA trying to block his investigations.

Old habits die hard.

I’ve only really scratched the surface of this as the 2014 World Cup approaches and I dare say we are about to hear a lot more about the goings on within FIFA in the future.

edit on 31/5/14 by mirageman because: edit

posted on May, 31 2014 @ 07:20 PM

posted on May, 31 2014 @ 09:05 PM
Awesome thread and one I 100% agree with. Have you seen the latest to do with the Qatar world cup.

The whole org is corrupt and needs shutting down and a new governing body should be made.

posted on May, 31 2014 @ 09:53 PM
you think Qatars corrupt?Brazil is going to be a disaster and that was down to big bucks as well,under 2 weeks to go and stadiums are still not ready,fifa are going to put people at risk cause they don,t want to look bad and admit brazil shoudn,t have hosted it also,hope their insurance is up to date cause their going to need it.

posted on Jun, 1 2014 @ 04:00 AM
The crazy thing is, ever played the game? Remember the ads on the side of the pitch that said say not to racism or fair play? All I gotta say is, hahahahahahahahaha.

posted on Jun, 1 2014 @ 06:00 AM
a reply to: boymonkey74

Unfortunately what we may see as bribery and corruption is just a way of life in the majority of nations within FIFA. As long as they get a slice of the cake then the methods of how it was baked are ignored.

Like I said in the OP the way FIFA has operated since the late 1970s is hardly a secret. The media has reported on a lot more transgressions than I could possibly cover. But it seems that no real action was ever taken to get to the route of the corruption. It's simply an old boys network that until very recently showed no signs of cracking.

Even the head of UEFA, Michel Platini, has not so far been implicated in any wrong doings but very questionably supported a world cup in Qatar.

You have to wonder who twisted his arm?

posted on Jun, 1 2014 @ 06:07 AM
a reply to: mirageman

To be honest before a few weeks back the biggest fine they ever gave was 5 million for racism and then they gave us a 50 million pound fine for spending too much (Which we should have fought in court because the FFP rules are against business practise law) so that means we are 10 times worse than a club with racist fans?.
Also where is that money going?.

posted on Jun, 1 2014 @ 06:22 AM
a reply to: sparky31

Yes Brazil deserves to be host because of it's outstanding football history. But the social problems that exist in Brazil will provide an interesting and possibly volatile backdrop to the World Cup.

Another little known pre-requisite of hosting a World Cup is that FIFA demands the host nation:

Allows entry and exit unconditionally to anyone FIFA deems suitable.

Suspends existing labour laws if FIFA deem it interferes with the competition and related events

All FIFA officials and competitors are fully exempt of paying any taxes in the host country.

FIFA should be exempt from a number of liabilities that would normally be enforceable by law in most countries.

Take a look here. www.tran

posted on Jun, 1 2014 @ 06:36 AM
a reply to: boymonkey74

I think the FFP (Financial Fair Play) laws come directly from UEFA not FIFA (although Platini's fingerprints are all over it). The principle is right in that clubs should not be allowed to spend more than they receive in income. This is how so many clubs have got into financial trouble and ended up bankrupt down the years.

Whether that should apply to a club where the owner is a multi-billionaire willingly financing the club from his/her own pocket is another question.

Fans of other clubs do not believe such massive financial injections to be fair. It raises wages and transfer fees for everyone in the game sure. But the main reason is that the money is not going into their own club.

The only argument you can make from a FFP perspective is what if the current owner pulls the rug and walks away or falls into financial difficulty leaving the club in precarious position.

But who gained from the massive £50m fine?

posted on Jun, 1 2014 @ 06:40 AM
The minute that they announced that Qatar would be the hosts in 2022 I thought "Christ, they must have laid down some massive bribes for that." What do you know - I was right!

posted on Jun, 1 2014 @ 07:03 AM
a reply to: mirageman

Thing is if you buy a business sometimes you have to spend more in investment for the future that is what we have done. We should have fought it in court...we would have won.
The ffp was put in to keep the status quo of the usual clubs always at the top.
I am glad we shook it all up.
Our owner just hasn't invested in the footie he has invested in Manchester making thousands of jobs.

posted on Jun, 1 2014 @ 07:09 AM
Back to the op I do not think the world cup will happen in Qatar how can it now? I think the countries who lost out could say the selection process was Crooked and not legal.

posted on Jun, 1 2014 @ 07:15 AM
a reply to: boymonkey74

Yes I am not a City supporter but I agree the ruling should have been challenged. Just because someone has bags of money and wants to spend it on a football club that isn't the one you happen to support is not a good enough reason to restrict that financing and fine them. I do suspect that part of the reason the rules came in was to ensure the Champions League elite stay there. Of course England is slightly different in that there 6 or 7 clubs all good enough to compete in the Champions League whereas other than perhaps Italy most other Euro leagues are dominated by one or two very rich clubs.

So back on topic.......
edit on 1/6/14 by mirageman because: edit

posted on Jun, 1 2014 @ 07:31 AM
a reply to: AngryCymraeg

No one in their right mind who knows anything about football really believes they should hold a World Cup in Qatar.

This looks to be the final move by the old boys network at FIFA that has hopefully woken up the world to their brazen greed.

Ironically in that column it claims:

Last month, Blatter said it was a mistake to choose Qatar for the World Cup, forcing Fifa to try to limit the damage.

"Yes, it was a mistake of course, but one makes lots of mistakes in life," said Blatter, Fifa's president,

Source : Guardian newspaper

Well Mr. Blatter as head of a multi-billion making industry do you not think that such an error should be marked by the announcement of your own resignation?

Platini and others are hinting that the World Cup should be moved to winter in Qatar. Something Australia are considering taking legal action over should it happen. If it does it would mean ending the 2022 club season in Europe just as the new one begins. Then there are considerations of player contracts, TV contracts, do lower league games continue whilst the World Cup goes on? We haven't even talked of the conditions for fans in a nation which still has some laws which are shall we say 'restrictive'.

We all know how Qatar "won" the World Cup bid don't we?'

So an open vote from all member nations should now decide who hosts the tournament in 2022 based on the merits of the bidding nations ability to host it. The people who took the cash should also be thrown out of FIFA and possibly jailed if found guilty.

posted on Jun, 1 2014 @ 09:15 AM
I remember when it was announced it was going to be in in Qatar, I looked around the bar I was sat in at the dumbstruck faces of everyone else. Most were shaking heads and laughing at the blatant bribery that probably gave Qatar the World Cup.
Nobody was surprised. FIFA is a currupt organisation that seems not to care how they opperate. This new scandal could be the undoing of them, the poo will certainly hit the fan so to speak.
edit on 1-6-2014 by rhynouk because: (no reason given)

posted on Jun, 1 2014 @ 04:01 PM
a reply to: rhynouk

The Qataris are using the slippery tricks that Blatter has used for years. They are claiming detachment from Bin Hammam, the guy now implicated in bribing the Africans to vote for Qatar as World Cup hosts.

Bin Hamman is a construction magnate who surely would gain from the need to build numerous 'white elephant' stadiums in the tiny state that is Qatar.

However it also seems that bribery is part and parcel of the Arab mentality with too many FIFA executive members willing to be on the receiving end of it.

.....the Sunday Times, based on a massive leak from unnamed sources in Fifa, has assembled a picture of Bin Hammam flying around the world, including on the emir of Qatar's private jet, lobbying for the Qatar 2022 bid, dishing out cash gifts and lavish hospitality, to Warner, Temarii and African football delegates who appeared depressingly keen to take it.

Of the 24 Fifa exco members in December 2010, Temariia and Adamu were suspended; Warner, bin Hammam, Blazer, Leoz and Texeira are all now tainted by corruption allegations, Issa Hayatou of Cameroon and the delegates behind other African Exco members are implicated by the Sunday Times.

Blatter himself was exonerated by Fifa because the receipt of commercial bribes was not a crime in Switzerland at the time he knew the money was paid to Havelange.

Source : Guardian website

It looks as if the walls around FIFA's mafioso are crumbling in a scandal that they are desperately trying to contain. It won't go away because it is the world's biggest sporting tournament and the details surrounding how Qatar came to be hosts are obvious to anyone who follows the sport. Too many greedy palms have been greased with Qatari cash for the media to let this one go.

Sepp Blatter has appeared to be made of Teflon in the past though. So I am not counting on anything just yet.

However I get the feeling that if he cracks with the pressure then the FIFA executive will totally collapse as claim and counter claim are made by and against executive members trying to stay out of jail.

edit on 1/6/14 by mirageman because: grammar

posted on Jun, 2 2014 @ 05:44 AM
S + F for you, a good read

Next nut to crack needs to be the IOC which is corrupt to the bone like the FIFA. But will this revelations change anything? I don't think so, there's too much money and power involved.

posted on Jun, 2 2014 @ 02:24 PM
a reply to: Talliostro

Unfortunately I think that as long Blatter stays at the helm then the Qatari World Cup will still be on the cards. He is an extremely slippery customer and knows how to stay ahead of the trail of corruption leading to his office. He somehow always ends up "not guilty - in spite of very close association..".

I think the plan will be for him to keep the investigation going on long enough for the British press to stop poking their nose in and move on to another news story (they eventually will) and then somehow both Blatter and the Qatari federation will be found to have had no part on the bribery scandal by FIFA's internal audit. Hammam will be blamed for the bribery. His motive for it will be the massive construction contracts he hoped to gain from building the stadiums in Qatar and he was acting independently of the Qatari bid. I can see the cover story already developing.

However there is some hope as Europe is getting restless and UEFA are telling their members to not support Blatter in a bid for yet another term of Presidency of FIFA for a fifth term.

However I guess people don't pay that much attention to this specific issue because we are so accustomed to the rich and powerful being corrupt, swindling money and avoiding taxes (and jail). From bankers and MPs to members of Take That. So why are football officials going to be any different?

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