FIFA – the “kickback kingdom”

The murk of FIFA is coming out in rather large quantities.

The bribes and kickbacks amount to millions.

It is the neatly typed transcript of calmly delivered testimony to a Brooklyn courthouse that confirmed Fifa’s reputation as the kickback kingdom.

There are no frills to Chuck Blazer’s claims, just the listing of serial corruption, alleging the acceptance of bribes in the allocation of a host of tournaments, including the 1998 and 2010 World Cups.

The guilty plea from Charles Blazer, formerly one of the most high-profile Fifa executives, throws the earth on top of the coffin of Fifa during the Sepp Blatter era. Blatter came to power in 1998 and Blazer’s testimony covers much of his reign.

Blatter has always denied any wrongdoing but what Blazer’s claims indicate is the almost industrial level of racketeering on Blatter’s watch.

No wonder the Fifa president resigned on Tuesday (Wednesday NZ time). Such is the strength of Blazer’s evidence that it is hard to see how Blatter can continue during this strange interim period as Fifa awaits an election at the next congress.

Blatter needs to stand down now and explain himself to the authorities and the sport he has tainted.

The Fifa museum probably will not hurry to accept it as an exhibit, but Blazer’s 40-page testimony is one of the most significant documents published in the history of football, one that will inspire as much interest to historians as the 1863 Laws of the Game.

Having indicted 14 people on charges of racketeering and money-laundering, the US Justice Department claimed that the scale of bribery touched $US100 million ($NZ140 million) over 24 years.

It was blockbuster stuff and the United States versus Charles Gordon Blazer provides the script, all overseen by District Judge Raymond J Dearie.

Some people are going to go to jail.

Blazer revealed that he helped to “facilitate the acceptance of a bribe in conjunction with the selection of the host nation for the 1998 World Cup”.

It is not clarified whether France or Morocco, who also bid for the competition eventually hosted by France, made the payment, although Morocco are named in the indictment as being willing to bribe.

Blazer also admitted that “beginning in or around 2004 and continuing through 2011, I and others on the Fifa executive committee agreed to accept bribes in conjunction with the selection of South Africa as the host nation for the 2010 World Cup.”

Earlier on Tuesday, the South African Sports Minister, Fikile Mbalula, “denied that the money was a bribe and says it was an ‘above-board payment’ to help soccer development in Caribbean region”. Little evidence has yet been found of how this $US10million was spent.

Blazer’s transcript also included the revelation that “beginning in or about 1993 and continuing through the early 2000s, I and others agreed to accept bribes and kickbacks in conjunction with the broadcast and other rights to the 1996, 1998, 2000, 2002, and 2003 Gold Cups.”

These guys will probably end up working for the UN such is the level of their corruption.

 

– Fairfax


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