Sunday, March 29, 2009

Host-Making an Exercise in Corruption at FIFA

Investigative sports journalist Andrew Jennings discusses the corruption that plagues FIFA in this interview with SoccerLens from October. Many topics are discussed in this lengthy interview, including the process of determining World Cup hosts, which Jennings says is corrupt.

Andrew Jennings: There are only 24 men who decide the World Cup. They don’t let women in. Most of them are not thieves. I think they are all morally corrupt because nobody raises their hand and says ‘I want to get out of here. I don’t like what is going on. We are going to take our regional Confederations and break away. We don’t like these scum.’ Not in football. Not in sport. 24 are members of FIFA’s Executive Committee. President Blatter does not cast a deciding vote. You have three from CONCACAF, your part of the world, Chuck Blazer, one of the partners with a wonderful apartment in Trump Tower, you’ve got Jack Warner in Trinidad and Tobago, Rafael Seguero from Mexico, they represent you, all sports fans know that, they claim to speak for you, but they don’t want to talk to you or spend time with you. We have 8 in Europe because we are just a bigger footballing area, there are 3 or 4 out of the African continent, and one from Oceania. These are the guys who decide who gets the World Cup. A year ago, I presented a BBC programme documenting the bribes, how Germany won the votes to host the last World Cup in 2006.

SoccerLens: As a follow up to the last question, could you discuss if there were any irregularities about the bidding process for World Cup 2006?

Andrew Jennings: What you need to know for any World Cup bid, there is no accountability or transparency. Partly because they get away with it, and frankly, the coverage of journalists is not as good as it could be. Money has gone through Caribbean banks, or accounts in Lichtenstein. There is no question since Joao Havelange, the Brazilian, took over, in 1974, corruption immediately followed. Before him, there was the Englishman, Sir Stanley Rous. Now, I am not being patriotic about it, but Stan Rous was clean. He may have been a bit of a bumbling old fool, but he would never take a bribe.

Havelange with his gang arrived, and Sepp Blatter, and boy was football corrupt from then on. So bribes were paid for contracts, but in South Africa, the government had a policy that they would not pay bribes. Morocco paid. People who take bribes don’t always do what you ask of them. You can’t go to the police and say ‘I bribed that guy. He didn’t deliver the World Cup.’

Now what happened with Germany was, they had a very good position, they have great football tradition and Blatter behind them, Africa wasn’t going to vote for them, they were nearly there, they didn’t need many votes, so what happened, I’ve got the documents on this, there was one guy who stood to make the most money out of this was the German TV mogul, Leo Kirch. He has the biggest film library outside of Hollywood. He’s a very astute businessman. He has sports stations in Germany, if he could get the World Cup to Germany, he’d make a lot of money due to television rights.

Vote Rigging and Ticket Scandals at FIFA
October 22, 2008