Russia, Qatar may lose World Cup rights ‘if bribery found’
The comments by the head of FIFA’s auditing and compliance committee came as bribery claims mounted against disgraced former FIFA vice president Jack Warner, the man at the heart of the scandal engulfing football’s world body.
“If evidence exists that Qatar and Russia received the (World Cup) awards only thanks to bribes, then the awards could be annulled,” Domenico Scala told the Swiss newspaper Sonntagszeitung.
He said however that “this evidence has not been provided” so far.
His comments are the first by a senior FIFA official to even open up the possibility of either Russia or Qatar being stripped of the right to host the football extravaganza.
Swiss judicial authorities are already probing the awarding of the 2018 and 2022 World Cups to Russia and Qatar as part of a far-reaching corruption scandal that has also raised questions about the 2010 event in South Africa.
Around 14 current or former FIFA officials and sports marketing executives are also accused by US prosecutors of taking part in a sweeping kickbacks scheme going back 20 years involving a total of 150 million in bribes.
The revelations have thrown the world of football into turmoil and led to the resignation of long-serving FIFA president Sepp Blatter last week, just four days after his reelection for a fifth successive term.
Blatter’s replacement will not be chosen for months, but Freddy <g data-gr-id="35">Rumo</g>, a former vice-president of European football’s governing body UEFA, has said that changing FIFA presidents will not root out graft at the organisation.
“The corruption, in my opinion, has nothing to do with Blatter’s person,” he told Swiss public broadcaster RTS.
“The solution of replacing a president with another will have basically zero effect.”
Although Blatter has not been charged and has denied any wrongdoing, allegations are swirling around his one-time right-hand man Warner.
Accusations surfaced on Sunday that Warner sought a 7 million bribe from Egypt for votes in the bidding process for the 2010 World Cup, and that he pocketed a 10 million payment from South Africa -- the eventual host. Warner was arrested on May 29 at the request of US authorities and is currently free on 400,000 <g data-gr-id="38">bail</g> pending a decision in his extradition case.
Mourinho convinced he was victim of corruption
Chelsea coach Jose Mourinho on Monday restated his belief that he was a victim of corruption when he finished second to Spanish coach Vicente del Bosque for the World Coach of the Year award in 2012. Mourinho had earlier echoed the same sentiments in 2013. Sepp Blatter resigned last week as FIFA president amidst chaos as a host of top officials of the world football’s governing body were arrested for money laundering and corruption.
“In 2012, I was one of the three finalists and when I was told I was finishing second with a few votes behind the first, it looked normal to me. But then the votes were made public,” Mourinho was quoted as saying by <g data-gr-id="87">the telegraph.</g>
Maradona says may become FIFA’s new vice president
Football great Diego Maradona on Monday claimed he may be in line to become the vice president of FIFA should Prince Ali Bin al-Hussein be elected as Sepp Blatter’s successor as president. The 1986 World Cup winner and former Argentina coach has been a long-term opponent of Blatter and described him as “a dictator” last month.
Maradona is now keen to help out with the restructuring of football’s governing body and offered his services to Jordan’s Prince Ali should he win the election. “If Prince Ali wins, I have many chances to become FIFA vice president,” Maradona was quoted as saying by Argentine TV channel America.
“If I arrive, I’ll clean them all up. Blatter is afraid of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and the Swiss police. He was afraid to leave FIFA in handcuffs,” the 54-year-old said. Maradona also took potshots at UEFA president Michel Platini, while dismissing former Portugal forward Luis Figo’s chances of succeeding Blatter.