FIFA scandal spreads around the globe
The storm went around the globe with South African police opening an investigation into claims that money was paid to secure the 2010 World Cup.
Australian police are looking into their country’s bid for the 2022 World <g data-gr-id="63">Cup,</g> while in Venezuela investigators raided the country’s football headquarters looking for evidence against <g data-gr-id="62">a FIFA</g> official held in the scandal.
Following the shock resignation of Blatter on Tuesday, <g data-gr-id="55">focus</g> has shifted to the US investigation which led to seven FIFA officials being arrested last week in Zurich.
<g data-gr-id="59">Evidence given</g> by <g data-gr-id="58">ailing</g> whistleblower Chuck Blazer to US investigators told of attempts to buy the 1998 and 2010 World Cups hosted by France and South Africa respectively.
Now battling cancer in <g data-gr-id="68">hospital</g>, the disgraced former North American football supremo said in testimony released by prosecutors that FIFA executives conspired to accept bribes during bidding for the 1998 and 2010 events.
Blazer has admitted to charges related to his leadership of the North and Central American body CONCACAF and membership of FIFA’s executive committee.
In a plea deal with US prosecutors, the 70-year-old agreed to wear a microphone and record conversations with other FIFA officials. None of the other suspects <g data-gr-id="61">are</g> named.
“Among other things, I agreed with other persons in or around 1992 to facilitate the acceptance of a bribe in conjunction with the selection of the host nation for the 1998 World Cup,” Blazer said in his plea.
France beat Morocco in the bidding to stage that tournament. A document detailing the charges says that Blazer was present when a co-conspirator accepted a bribe in Morocco.
Blazer went on to admit that he and “others on the FIFA executive committee” agreed to accept bribes in conjunction with the selection of South Africa to host the World Cup in 2010.
South African officials have angrily denied allegations by US investigators that they paid 10 million (8.9 million euros) in bribes in 2008 to secure the rights.
The money allegedly went to Jack Warner, a former FIFA vice-president and another former CONCACAF head. He was suspended by the world body in 2011 for corruption.
Warner promised Wednesday in his native Trinidad and Tobago to tell an “avalanche” of secrets.
“I reasonably and surely fear for my life,” he declared in a paid political broadcast and later added that “not even death will stop the avalanche that is coming.”
Warner said he had a file which “deals with my knowledge of international transactions at FIFA, including its president <g data-gr-id="66">Mr</g> Sepp Blatter” and “Trinidad and Tobago’s prime minister.”
Reports say US investigators believe FIFA secretary-general Jerome Valcke authorized the transfer. But Valcke, who was effectively Blatter’s right-hand man, insists that he had nothing to do with it.
Warner is one of 14 football officials and sports marketing officials charged over more than 150 million in bribes.
A special South African police unit, the Hawks, said Thursday it was looking into the bribery claims following a request from an opposition party. It stressed that no formal investigation had been launched.
Venezuelan prosecutors raided the headquarters of the country’s football federation, whose leader Rafael Esquivel is one of seven FIFA officials held in Switzerland.
The prosecutors also said in a statement that they have banned Esquivel from disposing of his assets.
In parallel to the US inquiry, Swiss prosecutors are looking into the award of the 2018 and 2022 World Cup tournaments to Russia and Qatar.
Australian police said they were now looking into corruption claims around Australia’s failed 2022 bid, with Football Federation Australia chairman Frank Lowy saying FIFA’s handling of the tournament was “not clean”.
Sepp Blatter congratulates Mohun Bagan on I-League win
Outgoing world football body FIFA President Sepp Blatter has congratulated Mohun Bagan on winning the I-League, saying that the Kolkata giants had achieved their success through “exceptional performance”.
“A national team victory is a wonderful occasion and an opportunity to draw satisfaction from a job well done. Please pass on my own personal congratulations, along with those of the whole football family, Mohun Bagan on their exceptional performance,” Blatter said in a letter sent to AIFF President Praful Patel. “I know behind this success are the belief and effort of everyone involved. This is a true team victory, and all of you deserve to share in the accolades; the players and coach of course, but also the technical and medical staff, not least, the loyal fans,” he said in the message.