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Is There Corruption In World Football?

Is There Corruption In World Football?

Wherever money is involved, there is always a chance of fraud. The chance becomes even bigger with a system of virtually-autonomous power. We can discuss corruption in almost every sphere of the world. Following the recent scandals and the whole 2022 FIFA World Cup drama, we will keep football in the main focus this time.

However, it is important to note that football is far from the only industry in which corruption is present as the capitalist world manages to foster it left and right. Even regular users are subject to scams on a daily basis, with Nigerian scams and other similar online frauds happen daily to thousands of unsuspecting internet users.

Related: Pinnick: Court Victory is For Nigerian Football; Not For Me, NFF Board Members

Corruption in FIFA

We will begin right from the sports’ main governing body, Federation Internationale de Football Association, commonly known as FIFA. The corruption had certainly been present in and around the body way before it was initially discovered. We’ll go back to 2006 when British reporter Andrew Jennings opened up several themes including bribes, ticket scandals and vote-rigging.

He initiated discussions about the cash-for-contracts scandals. International Sport and Leisure was FIFA’s key marketing partner back in the 1990s. They reportedly earned such reputation by paying massive bribes to Nicolas Leoz, Ricardo Teixeira and Issa Hayatou, three senior officials at FIFA. The company did so to keep their business spot and ensure additional contracts for World Cups.

Following the company’s collapse at the beginning of the century, a massive range of opportunities for TV houses popped up. Sadly, it was only to lead to a new series of frauds. FIFA member, Jack Warner, bought exclusive TV rights for the 2010 and 2014 World Cup events for $600,000. Jack’s company then resold the same rights for as much as $18 million to a different TV company. With such vast amounts of money involved, you can only imagine how many FIFA officials have been tempted during their professional careers at the organization. How many of those refused the forbidden fruit?

World Cup Hosting Rights

Ever since it was announced that Qatar would host the 2022 FIFA World Cup, tons of questions have suddenly hit FIFA’s representatives. The decision for the 2018 and 2022 tournament hosts was brought in 2010 in Switzerland. Whereas there was nothing strange in selecting Russia as the host nation for the 2018 event, there was nothing logical in picking the country that has never even made it to the world’s biggest competition to play host to such a large event. At the time Qatar were given the tournament, the country did not have a single football stadium that meets the basic FIFA criteria.

Furthermore, the average temperature for June and July, months when the competition is usually held, goes up to 42 degrees in Qatar. The weather thus moved the entire tournament to November and December interfering with the football calendars of all countries and competitions in the world, including the Premier League and La Liga. The icing on the cake is the way the Arab country treats workers on the stadiums who were allegedly denied food and water and had their immigration passports taken away.

So why did FIFA decide to make such an unreasonable decision? The answer can hardly be simpler. Qatar is an extremely rich country and the line between FIFA and corruption is much thinner than we can imagine. Moving forward, the organization may consider giving the hosting rights for such tournaments to some more natural choices.

Sepp Blatter and Michel Platini

Joseph Blatter became the FIFA President in 1998. The accusations of a series of frauds constantly surrounded his reign. Football is sometimes influenced by government policies or specific industries such as tourism or casino/sports betting. We could have all witnessed it during the period Sepp Blatter was at the helm of the organization. The man was behind a powerful group of people that have put different industries together in the form of cash-for-votes, money laundering and bribes. He was forbidden to get involved in any FIFA activity for eight years as a consequence back in 2015.

At about the same time Blatter was fighting his battles with accusations, legendary Juventus midfielder Michel Platini was at the head of the main European football organization, UEFA. He was paid $1.5 million for “legitimate consultancy work”.  Instead of taking over Blatter as the leading man of FIFA, Platini received identical punishment. The Ethics Committee ruled him out of any FIFA-related activity for eight years.

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