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FIFA under scrutiny

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Controversy in sport has plagued every major sports league.  The National Football League and the illegal videotaping of games formerly known as spygate, the numerous allegations of performing enhancing drugs in Major League Baseball, and personal issues that took Tiger Woods out of the hunt for the most majors won, each has made an impact in their respective leagues.

The international governing body on soccer, FIFA, has recently been linked with bribery and corruption regarding the location of the 2022 men’s world cup in Qatar.

After the decision was announced about Qatar winning the vote for the 2022 World Cup, allegations of corruption and payoffs were made once emails and documents were leaked.  These documents could shift FIFA’s decision to conduct the vote again and ultimately change the voting process altogether.  UK’s sports minister Helen Grant on the allegations said,  “These appear to be very serious allegations. It is essential that major sporting events are awarded in an open, fair and transparent manner.” [1]

At the center of the issue is Qatari football official, Mohamed Bin Hammam.  Hammam made payments to FIFA officials totalling $5 million (£3m) for their support in the 2022 World Cup location decision. [3]

Qatar and Hammam continue to deny any allegations regarding the former vice-president of FIFA (Hammam) and his actions on behalf of Qatar.  BBC has seen emails that were submitted into evidence confirming Hammam lobbying for Qatar for one year prior to the vote.

Hammam is accused of having paid court fees and bribes for other suspended FIFA committee members, even the former president of FIFA, Jack Warner. The FIFA committee members were suspended from FIFA voting, but with their support, Qatar would have the necessary votes it needed to win the bid for the 2022 World Cup.

Ethics investigator Michael Garcia and his investigative team were chosen to examine evidence, create their reports and delivered them to FIFA.  Garcia’s lengthy report consists of 350 pages that was compiled from over 200,000 pieces of evidence.  FIFA will not comment on what exactly the report says, but they have been quoted saying, “The report sets forth detailed factual findings; reaches conclusions concerning further action with respect to certain individuals; identifies issues to be referred to other FIFA committees; and makes recommendations for future bidding processes.” [2]

Garcia’s report has been finished and handed in to FIFA, but no decision from FIFA is decided.  Interference for a revote, apart from the obvious legal action by Qatar, would be reopening the 2018 process, that Russia won.

Garcia was not allowed into Russia to investigate the 2018 bid because of his standing as an American lawyer.  All reported accounts point to the 2018 World Cup staying in Russia and a re-vote for the 2022 World Cup.  Clive Efford, the shadow sports minister of the United Kingdom in an interview with The Guardian said, “FIFA must take urgent action and reopen the bidding for the 2022 World Cup if it wants to restore its credibility.”

 

External Sources:

[1] An article written by Owen Gibson, Chief Sports Correspondent for the british newspaper, The Gaurdian,

http://www.theguardian.com/football/2014/jun/01/qatar-2022-world-cup-allegations-fifa-revote

[2] An article posted by The Associated Press on September 5, 2014

http://www.cbc.ca/sports/soccer/fifa-receives-evidence-in-corruption-probe-of-qatar-bid-1.2756839

[3] Detailed information on the source of the controversy

http://www.bbc.com/sport/0/football/27652181

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