FIFA Corruption Scandal
In an episode which could be taken straight from a Hollywood blockbuster, FIFA, the governing body of football worldwide has been shaken with accusations of endemic corruption. While not everyone cares about ‘the beautiful game’, the fact that such a large institution could be guilty of widespread bribery, money laundering and fraud is an issue concerning for all.
The news first broke last week, following dawn raids coordinated by the USA which led to fourteen senior officials being arrested. FIFA were quick to rebut claims and continued with the presidential election between Sepp Blatter, current president and Prince Ali bin al-Hussein two days later. Prince Ali then withdrew after the first round of voting, which saw Blatter just short of the two thirds majority needed to win. The unquestionable faith in their leader, even noble, transpired to be misplaced. Only a few days later after his re-election, Blatter stood down as FIFA president. Hours later it emerged that the FBI were investigating him as part of their corruption inquiry. Today, 4th June 2015, Chuck Blazer, a former FIFA executive, admitted that he and other members were bribed in return for voting for South Africa in the 2010 World Cup, and facilitating bribery payments for the 1998 World Cup in France. Jack Warner, the former FIFA vice president and one of the original arrested, was documented as the recipient of that bribe, in relation to Morocco’s failed bid. Hours later Warner made a television appearance stating “I have kept quiet. I will do so no more”. He alleges that the corruption goes far wider than just within football, stating he had evidence to link important FIFA officials to the 2010 Trinidad and Tobago elections. The FBI and Swiss Authorities are now investigating the awarding of the 2018 and 2022 World Cups to Russia and Qatar. Both the United Kingdom and Australia have stated that they are ready to host the 2018 and 2022 World Cups respectively if the tournaments are stripped from the current hosts.
This sorry sage will undoubtedly continue to unfold through the coming days, weeks and months. The level of arrogance shown by the most powerful men in football will undoubtedly be used to hoist them by their own petard. Back-biting and counter-accusations as they attempt to save their own skin will surely follow. However, while it is one of the largest scandals to hit in recent times, there is hope for justice that even the most powerful will tumble eventually.