The global spectacle, an almost eerie chastisement for holding a successful World Cup in 2014, made waves at a luxury hotel in Zurich in May before fully engulfing world football. The US Department of Justice, after an enquiry by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), indicted 14 people — nine FIFA officials and five corporate executives — on charges which included racketeering, wire fraud and money laundering conspiracies spanning 24 years and for breeding “rampant, systemic, and deep-rooted” corruption within FIFA.
But before the storm, the waves had already begun to gather pace in December 2014 when FIFA ethics investigator Michael Garcia, in light of Qatar being controversially given rights to host the 2022 World Cup back in 2010, quit his post after the world governing body published his report stating that it had exonerated the bidding process. Garcia, who claimed his summary to be ‘erroneous’, criticised the FIFA leadership for lack of transparency. Besides Qatar, Russia was also under the scanner for being awarded rights to hold the 2018 World Cup.
FIFA leadership goes down under
FIFA President Sepp Blatter and UEFA chief Michel Platini were banned by the world governing body for eight years on December 21 from all football-related activities after they were found guilty of a $2 million ‘disloyal payment’ made to Platini. However, the pair has argued that it was a nine-year delayed imbursement for when the Frenchman worked for Blatter as his advisor from 1998 to 2002. Blatter has also been accused of misappropriation of a TV rights deal.
FIFA ex-VP Figueredo will be extradited to Uruguay
Since FIFA is already planning to hold fresh elections in February, Platini has the most to lose as his nomination for the post of FIFA chief will not be considered unless he wins the appeal to dissolve the suspension.
Other major talking points
Disgraced former FIFA executive Charles Chuck Blazer has been helping the FBI with their investigation to save him from a big tax debt.
According to Blazer, he along with other officials took bribes — worth $10 million — when South Africa was selected to host the 2010 World Cup although the South African government has since claimed it as legitimate payment to promote their football.
FIFA court to hear Blatter, Platini cases
Besides this, another official took a bribe to help Morocco win rights for the 1998 World Cup which was eventually awarded to France, and bribes were also accepted in connection with broadcast and other rights to the Concacaf Gold Cup tournament in 1996, 1998, 2000, 2002 and 2003.
On the other hand, FIFA secretary general Jerome Valcke, Blatter’s right-hand man since 2007, was suspended from his duties after allegations surrounding the resale of World Cup tickets.
Published in The Express Tribune, December 30th, 2015.
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