[WORLD CUP 2018/22 BIDS] The Sunday Times' sting operation blew out of the water the notion that FIFA business is all above board.
Reporters from the London paper posed as lobbyists for a U.S. business consortium trying secure support for the USA's (since-terminated) bid to host the 2018 World Cup.
One FIFA executive committee member, Nigerian Amos Adamu, was approached by the lobbyists in London, and he asked for $800,000 to build four artificial fields in Nigeria. According to the report, he later "guaranteed" at a meeting in Cairo he'd vote for the United States in the 2018 race and asked that the money be paid to a relative doing business in Europe.
(The Sunday Times reported that Adamu said he had "already given my word to some other bid" to support it in the 2022 race -- the race in which the USA is favored -- but agreed to support the United States as his second choice.)
Sunday Times video shows another FIFA executive committee member, Tahitian Reynald Temarii discussing with the lobbyists work on a sports academy in Auckland, New Zealand. He says the work will cost 3 million New Zealand dollars ($2,225,000) and discusses how to finance the project. Temarii, a FIFA vice president representing the Oceania Football Confederation, said support would be "helpful" to get his vote but he emphasized that there couldn't be a "link" between his vote and support for the project.
Temarii added that two other bidders had offered $10 million-$12 million to his confederation to support his project.
The Sunday Times report on its subscriber-only site includes video of two former FIFA executive committee members discussing what it would take for them to talk current members about buying their vote.
The Sunday Times emphasized that the USA Bid Committee’s campaign has been completely above board and the reporters emphasized they were not connected with it. FIFA has promised a full investigation into the matter.
This isn't the first sting operation by a British newspaper into the 2018/22 World Cup bids.
in May,Lord Triesman quit as the chairman of the English FA and England's World Cup bid head after tabloid Mail on Sunday taped him talking with a friend about how Spain would withdraw its bid if Russia helped bribe referees at the 2010 World Cup.
It was suggested at the time that such press operations would make FIFA nervous about handing the 2018 tournament to England.