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More fallout from Qatar victory
by Paul Kennedy, December 5th, 2010 8:17PM
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TAGS:  world cup 2022


[WORLD CUP 2022] There was more fallout from FIFA's decision to award Qatar the 2022 World Cup. There were new accusations of corruption with charges that $1.5 million deals were struck for the votes of two executive committee members by a sports organization working on behalf of Qatar 2022 bid committee. And German Franz Beckenbauer, a member of the executive committee, suggested that the only way to hold the World Cup in Qatar would be to hold the tournament in January and February.

The latest allegations of corruption came in a report in the Sunday Times in which a former employee of the Qatar 2022 bid committee gave the Sunday Times dates, locations and names of those present at the meetings, including the executive committee members involved.

The cash was to go to soccer federations of the two FIFA officials; no strings were attached to how it was to be used. "Basically, if they took it into their pocket," the source said, "we don’t give a jack.”

“These allegations are very serious," Ivan Lewis, the British Labour Party secretary of state for culture, media and sport, said, "and FIFA now has a clear choice to launch an independent investigation with anyone found guilty thrown out of football, or face the fact that its authority as the governing body of football is no longer credible.” Lewis said he would present the evidence to FIFA.

An early Sunday Times investigation led to the suspension of two executive committee members, Nigerian Amos Amadu and Tahitian Reynald Temarii. The London paper came in for heavy criticism for its sting operation from FIFA executive committee members, who were sympathetic to the plight of Amadu and Temarii.

One doubts FIFA's willingness to investigate these charges reported from the same media outlet -- FIFA president Sepp Blatter is reported to have gone on about the "evils of the media" before the 2018 and 2022 votes were taken Thursday in Zurich -- though the circumstances of the cases are different. Amadu and Temarii were caught in a sting operation talking hypotheticals. In the new case, the witness was present at meetings where cash-for-votes deals were struck.

This isn't the first time there have been allegations about voter fraud in a World Cup host contest. FIFA officials interviewed in the Sunday Times investigation reported about extensive payments for votes in the 2004 South Africa-Morocco race for the 2010 World Cup.

On Friday, the Wall Street Journal reported that a source, believed to be the same former employee of the Qatar 2022 bid committee, said at least one adviser recommended that a payment of $78.4 million be made to the Argentine soccer federation (AFA), which was facing a financial crisis stemming from a dispute over the television contract with the Argentine league, to win the vote of AFA president Julio Grondona, FIFA's senior vice president.

THE KAISER'S SOLUTION. Beckenbauer told Saturday's Bild newspaper that playing the World Cup in Qatar in the winter would be a better (and cheaper) solution than air conditioning all stadiums, all the training centers and fan zones for the tournament in the summer.

"In January and February, you have comfortable [77 degrees] there," said Beckenbauer, who is believed to have supported the USA following Australia's elimination after round 1 of the 2022 voting. "Qatar won the vote and deserves a fair chance as the first host from the Middle East."

Beckenbauer, who headed the Germany 2006 World Cup organizing committee, is retiring from the executive committee after one term.

  1. Ted Westervelt
    commented on: December 6, 2010 at 10:10 a.m.
    US makes it to final round of voting, comes within three votes, Garber's making wild pronouncements on simulating pro/rel and moving to winter schedule, and still no mention of it in the US soccer media. Blatter's first words to Obama, in front of Don Garber, were "When will the US adopt pro/rel and traditional season." In 2008, FIFA announces preference for World Cup hosts that subscribe to pro/rel. For every 100 mentions of corruption, collusion and nepotism, shouldn't there be one reference to the facts?
  1. Theodore Eison
    commented on: December 6, 2010 at 10:20 a.m.
    Ted leaves out a lot of facts. It is cold in Russia, and it is cold in Chicago and Toronto in the winter. Russia takes a long winter break, just like the U.S., as well as other Scandinavian countries. Russia was awarded the World Cup. I think the implication that the USA didn't get the World Cup because it doesn't have pro/rel and traditional season, thus appeasing Blatter, is ludicrous. Any observer of the proceedings could see that the only possible logic governing the awarding of the World Cup is to follow the money trail.
  1. Brian Herbert
    commented on: December 6, 2010 at 10:44 a.m.
    Maybe the World Cup is simply outdated and needs to be ended? The level of competition is so much better in tournaments like Champion's league anyway, and without the enormous price tag and corruption. We have national team competition in the Olympics every four years, so I'd be fine with just dropping the whole mess since FIFA doesn't seem capable of acting transparently and ethically.
  1. David Huff
    commented on: December 6, 2010 at 11:58 a.m.
    @ Ted, perhaps you work for FIFA? You also left out the question asked of Mr. Blatter "When will you end corruption in the operation of FIFA?"
  1. Tom Symonds
    commented on: December 6, 2010 at 1:57 p.m.
    @Theodore. Russia will host WC during summer problem with cold temps. Additionally, the 2010 season is the last spring-autumn schedule for the Russian League. Russia has adopted the traditional autumn-spring schedule (mid-Dec thru Feb winter break) beginning in the 2011-2012 season. Undersoil heating will keep the pitches playable in Nov/Dec and early March. @Brian. If you think FIFA is bad in its operation of soccer, you can't begin to imagine the mess that would be created by the IOC. Mercy!
  1. John Schubert
    commented on: December 6, 2010 at 3:41 p.m.
    World Cup Soccer has become more of a Soap Opera than the major sport event it once was. Even if the accusations of money paid for favorable votes are untrue, the fact that there were accusations damages the integrity of the sport and the World Cup. I agree that Team Tounaments are far more entertaining (at least in Europe) but unfortunately the MLS does not have teams that can compete with English, Spanish, German, ect. teams simply because the MLS Teams do not have the revenue to attract the top players or coaches in the world. And, the Tournament in the Americas does not hold the interest or have the talent that the Champions League has. The World Cup provides the only opportunity for the USA to cheer for what are billed as the best U.S. players.
  1. Margaret Manning
    commented on: December 6, 2010 at 9:38 p.m.
    I realize that this is irrelevant, but FIFA rules don't require that US soccer have promotion/relegation or follow the European schedule. "The London paper came in for heavy criticism for its sting operation from FIFA executive committee members, who were sympathetic to the plight of Amadu and Temarii." Their only "plight" is being on the Executive Committee and finding ways to hide their bribes. Tahiti? Really?
  1. David Huff
    commented on: December 6, 2010 at 10:14 p.m.
    @ Margaret, I concur, the only "plight" suffered is that their would-be crooked dealings were exposed. Unless FIFA demonstrates a real committment to house-cleaning and implementing fiscal transparency then it is foreseeable that football organizational schisms will develop in the future. FIFA may need to take damage in its revenue stream, experiencing real pain, in order for such reforms to advance.
  1. Nathan Geason
    commented on: December 9, 2010 at 8:35 a.m.
    One way to end the corruption, make the vote public. Have every member on a stage and every vote known. Why not? They do it for the World Cup draw!
  1. Karl Ortmertl
    commented on: December 10, 2010 at 1:09 p.m.
    Sour grapes on corruption. the US depends on corruption in every aspect of its foreign policy. When the corruption runs against its desires, people from the US hypocritically scream bloody murder. The World Cup in Qatar should be held in January-February. It's time to get off of the European-centric timetable for a world event. The World Cup would have been better in January-February in South Africa, as well. That's when its summer on half of the planet - the non-European half.

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