Seven FIFA officials Arrested
As you have probably heard by now, seven FIFA officials were arrested yesterday in Zurich and have been charged with corruption, ranging from racketeering, wire fraud and money laundering. They are suspected of receiving more than $150m (£100m) in bribes.
It has long been the belief of many football fans that FIFA is a thoroughly corrupt organization and it looks like that is finally going to be confirmed in court.
World Cup Finals Allocation
The allocation of the next two World Cup finals tournaments to Russia and Qatar have really tipped the scale.
Russia has been an established football stronghold for many years. But to award the second biggest sporting event in the world, to a tiny, corrupt country with an awful record on human rights and no experience of running any event of such a large scale, is just totally outrageous. Qatar has neither the stadiums nor the infrastructure to hold such a major event, not to mention the impossible heat at the time of year when the competition is normally played.
The awarding of the 2018 World Cup tournament to Russia was suspect, but there can be no doubt that the only reason for 2022 going to Qatar was the result of many officials receiving significant bribes, The only people that will benefit from such a competition are those that received the bribes and those that paid them.
I believe that FIFA should be disbanded as soon as possible and a new body created to oversee world football. That body should be a non-profit organization and should have no reason to hold the billion dollar assets that FIFA does, interestingly most of it in cash.
Former England striker and BBC football pundit, Gary Lineker, condemned FIFA in no uncertain terms.
How do you react to today’s news?
I suppose it is surprising in terms of the timing and scale of it but I don’t think any of us are particularly surprised about the allegations of corruption within Fifa.
There has already been many examples of that in previous years but I think it just shows you how deeply engrained within the corporation it is.
Fifa says it welcomes any investigations into wrongdoing, is it doing enough?
Fifa’s clearly not doing enough. It’s not done enough in terms of corruption that’s for sure. Of course it says it welcomes investigations but how many people left in Fifa have not been accused of various wrongdoings.
It is quite clear that either Fifa needs to be completely transparent, they need to pretty much start again or it needs to be taken out of their hands. The major federations need to boycott Fifa.
Is there a will out there for this to happen?
I think this will help towards getting the result we’d all like and have wanted for some time. It will be interesting because Fifa tends to find a way of wriggling out of things.
In any other corporation, if there was so many things that were found to be corrupt, then the man at the top would go – but that doesn’t seem to be the case with Fifa.
Sepp Blatter faces an election in two days’ time, where does it leave him?
It wouldn’t surprise me if the election went ahead and he walked away with it as he always seems to do. He has all the people he needs on his side, that’s how you get money into your particular area of the world.
None of them would want to vote for someone that might lose because it weakens their position in Fifa. The election should be suspended for now – common sense should prevail – but common sense doesn’t always exist in the towers of Fifa.
Should the 2018 and 2022 tournament bids be looked at again?
There are now major investigations not just concerning Fifa and corruption but also the two bids – World Cups 2018 and 2022 – so a lot will depend on how rotten it was and how corrupt the voting process was.
If it is substantial enough then I don’t think they will have any option but to rethink and revote. It is a mess, it is a huge mess, but it is something that needs to happen and the sooner the better.
How does it look on the world governance of football?
It looks awful on the world governance of football, it is a wonderful sport. It is completely nauseating to be involved in football and have to suffer this ongoing embarrassment to the game that is the governing body.
Lineker is, of course, correct on all accounts.
FIFA are going ahead with the elections and Sepp Blatter will no doubt be reinstated. The 2018 and 2022 allocations are being investigated, but FIFA have stated that they will not be moved.
When corruption is that ingrained in an organization, it will not change of its own will. For that reason FIFA needs to be closed down forthwith.