November 23, 2017

Vote selling scandal for World Cup hosting rocks FIFA

Good old FIFA great at travelling business class but have they got the balls to clean up their act?

Fifa is investigating allegations two of its officials offered to sell their votes in the contest to host the 2018 Football World Cup.

The scandal came to light in a sting operation by reporters from UK newspaper The Sunday Times who posed as lobbyists for a consortium of American companies who wanted to bring the tournament to the United States.

FIFA officials Amos Adamu from Nigeria and Reynald Temarii from Tahiti allegedly asked for payments towards football projects in exchange for voting for America. Unluckily for them the camera’s were rolling.

At least as far as reputations are concerned FIFA doesn’t have too much to lose on this one. They are second only to the International Olympic Committee for dodgy goings on in world sport.

No one on the planet knows the Oceania Confederation even exists until it comes to World Cup hosting races. It wasn’t that many years ago that Charlie Dempsey got ‘confused’ about who he was supposed to vote for and South Africa missed out on the 2006 World Cup because our Charlie went with the Germans.

Now Oceania President Reynald Temarii looks set to join the Oceania hall of shame. Even though the ‘everyone does it’ defence probably has some validity where FIFA is concerned, getting caught seems to be the crime not the bribery itself.

FIFA President Sepp Blatter admitted the scandal has had a “very negative impact” on the world governing body. Yes New Zealand football fans that is the same Sepp Blatter who came to our part of the world and promised direct world cup entry for Oceania in exchange for our vote in his re-election.

As soon as he got elected direct entry was granted only to be taken away again. With such ethical double dealing from the man at the top is is understandable that some of the supporting cast in FIFA want a small piece of the action for themselves.

With the weekend announcement that the United States was pulling out of the race for the 2018 Football World Cup hosting rights to focus on 2022, the fans knew horse trading was going on behind the scenes. England simultaneously announced they were pulling out of the 2022 race to focus on 2018.

FIFA should dispense with the facade of democracy and just look at the bids and announce who they want to host it. The long drawn out process for deciding hosting does leave FIFA open to the types of corruption allegations that have surfaced today.

Now that we are in a situation of teams of newspaper journalists travelling the world trying to bribe people involved in sport then reporting the conversations, genuine bribe makers are crying foul that victims are running scared and it is increasingly hard to do business.

They need not fear though, there will always be someone out there in sporting authority who is prepared to sell their soul for some dosh. It is a shame that the overwhelming majority of honest sports administrators end up getting tainted by the greedy few.