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World Cup Select Committee Meeting - UK Parliament


Rob.
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The commons select committee is ongoing at the moment. Bear in mind all witnesses have parliamentary privilige, cannot be sued, so are legally safe to name names. So far we've heard (and these are Tweets from journos within the meeting):

Hugely damaging allegations being made about Q2022 bid and African Exco members:

2 FIFA exco members named in Parliamentary committee as taking $1.5m World Cup bid bribes

MP Damian Collins says CMS committee will publish Sunday Times evidence that Qatar paid $1.5m to exco members Jacques Anouma and Issa Hayatou

Triesman "not surprised" by further submission from STimes which names other FIFA members re alleged payments in rtn for support of Qatar

Further allegations against our friend Jack Warner:

Lord Triesman now detailing a shakedown by Jack Warner for 2018 votes: JW asked for 2.5 million, "with which he promised to build a school."

Triesman: "Warner wanted another £500,000 to build TV screens in Haiti so people could watch the World Cup."

Confirmation of the Knighthood story:

Leoz asked for Knighthood, according to #Triesman

Very clever committee member notices that France hosted the World Cup in 1998 while asking how Leoz got his Legion d'Honneur.

Accusations against Brazil's ExCo Member:

Triesman: "I'm glad Pres. Lula seems to support england bid." Teixeira: "Lula is nothing. Tell me what you have for me"

Worawi Makudi trying to cash in too:

Makudi (Thailand) wanted England to play a friendly in thailand. He also wanted to personally own the UK TV rights for that match.

And finally, worth pointing out:

Triesman defends some #FIFA Ex-co members, saying Platini, Ogura and Chung were known to be "completely incorruptible" [3 out of 24 ain't bad eh?]

---------------------------------

So, in one morning's evidence we have new accusations against Qatar 2022 and a QUARTER of Blatter's ExCo (Anouma, Hayatou, Warner, Leoz, Teixeira and Makudi)

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Well nothing is that surprising. I mean no disrespect to our members from these regions but backhanders are a way of life outside of Japan, Korea, North America and Europe. And it seems like only Korea understands that it is the way of doing business outside of the western world.

Edited by Faster
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A bit of a mish-mash of information above. Here's an article:

Former Football Association chairman Lord Triesman claims four Fifa members sought "bribes" in return for backing England's failed 2018 World Cup bid.

Triesman - who was initially chairman of England's bid - made the allegations about Jack Warner, Nicolas Leoz, Ricardo Teixeira and Worawi Makudi.

He said their behaviour was "below what would be ethically acceptable".

However, Fifa vice-president Warner said the allegations made against him by Triesman were "a piece of nonsense".

Speaking to Sky Sports News, he added: "I've never asked Triesman nor any other person, Englishman or otherwise, for any money for my vote at any time.

"In the English campaign, before Triesman was unceremoniously kicked out, I've spoken to him on his initiative on only three occasions, while I've spoken to his other colleagues on other occasions and not one of them will ever corroborate his bit of trivia.

"I have been in Fifa for 29 years and this will astound many, I'm sure - including people like David Dein [international president of England 2018 bid] and Geoff Thompson [head of England's 2018 bid]."

In a seperate development, it was also claimed on Tuesday that two more Fifa executive committee members were paid nearly £1m to vote for Qatar's bid.

Conservative MP Damian Collins stated that evidence submitted by the Sunday Times newspaper - which the committee will publish - claimed that Fifa vice-president Issa Hayatou, from Cameroon, and Jacques Anouma, from the Ivory Coast, were involved.

Fifa's ethics committee last year banned two other executive committee members after a Sunday Times investigation into World Cup bidding.

http://news.bbc.co.uk/sport1/hi/football/9481461.stm


And the evidence:

TRIESMAN ACCUSATIONS:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mbBfFiiWHzo

SUNDAY TIMES ACCUSATIONS (PDF):

http://www.parliament.uk/documents/commons-committees/culture-media-sport/Sunday%20Times%20evidence%2009052011.pdf

Edited by RobH
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And Sepp's response? Basically "Nothing to do with me. I didn't choose these fellows."

Blatter distances himself from FIFA executive committee

(Reuters) - FIFA president Sepp Blatter distanced himself from his executive committee on Tuesday, saying he did not choose them and could not say whether they were angels or devils.

His remarks came after former English football association chairman David Triesman accused four FIFA executive committee members -- Jack Warner, Ricardo Teixeira, Nicolas Leoz and Worawi Makudi -- of asking for favours in return for their votes for England's 2018 World Cup bid.

"I am the president and I have my own conscience, I can only answer for myself, I cannot answer for the members of my committee," Blatter, who stands for re-election at the FIFA Congress on June 1, told reporters.

"They are not elected by the same Congress that I am elected, they are coming from the others (elsewhere), so I can not say they are all angels or all devils."

Two members of the 24-man executive committee -- Amos Adamu and Reynald Temarii -- were suspended before December's World Cup vote for allegedly offering to sell their votes to undercover reporters from the Sunday Times newspaper.

Only the executive committee votes on World Cup hosts.

"There is a new round of information, give us time to digest that and start the investigation by asking for evidence on what has been said," Blatter added.

"I repeat, we must have the evidence and we will react immediately against all those in breach of the ethics code rules."

"BATTLE HORSE"

"Zero tolerance is going through FIFA, it is one of the items on the Congress," Blatter added. "It is my battle horse, I'm fighting to clear FIFA but only when we have evidence.

"I was shocked when I saw this."

FIFA Secretary-general Jerome Valcke said the governing body had been very clear about what was considered ethical behaviour during World Cup voting.

"We will be asking for evidence or any information. We sent a letter to all exco members on what they can or cannot do so we were very clear from day one," he said.

Triesman was giving evidence on Tuesday to a British parliamentary inquiry into the reasons why England failed in its bid to secure the 2018 World Cup which was awarded to Russia.

Qatar was awarded the 2022 finals in the same vote.

Members are voted onto the FIFA executive committee by their own confederations but Blatter, as part of his re-election bid, said last month he would consider making the whole FIFA Congress of 208 member associations vote on World Cup hosts in future.

Reuters

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Well nothing is that surprising. I mean no disrespect to our members from these regions but backhanders are a way of life outside of Japan, Korea, North America and Europe. And it seems like only Korea understands that it is the way of doing business outside of the western world.

Don't be silly! It is the way it goes everywhere. Not to mention the several corruption cases that have arisen in recent times in these countries, there are always Dick Cheneys, Berlusconis and others all around.

By the way, European and North American companies have famous cases of corruption in developed nations as well. They probably don't start that practice when they expand abroad.

Anyway, as I have said before, there is corruption in FIFA but bribing has not decided the election for the last WC hosts. Besides, I seriously doubt that any of these guys actually had such conversations with Lord Triesman, not because they are clean, but because they are smart. This corruption allegations have become a convenient way out for the heads of the English bid, for running an expensive and fruitless campaign. They could not deliver the POLITICAL assets that the FIFA ExCom members wanted, so they started to encourage the corruption stories.

You must be too naive to think that the English bid team did not know in what they were getting in.

Anyway, to close on your statement, in Democracies, corruption does not disappear as you might think, it only becomes more sophisticated and harder to spot. That's the problem with Triesman's accounts, they are below the level of sophistication required for the FIFA level of transparency, which is rather low, by the way, but is not like Kadafi's Lybia.

BTW, Lord Triesman ought to have a lot of money on the bank, because he is going to pay a lot of reparations, since he can't prove what he says.

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Anyway, as I have said before, there is corruption in FIFA but bribing has not decided the election for the last WC hosts. Besides, I seriously doubt that any of these guys actually had such conversations with Lord Triesman, not because they are clean, but because they are smart. This corruption allegations have become a convenient way out for the heads of the English bid, for running an expensive and fruitless campaign. They could not deliver the POLITICAL assets that the FIFA ExCom members wanted, so they started to encourage the corruption stories.

Do you work for FIFA by the way because this is almost word for word Jack Warner's response? It seems everything that has been said by Triesman is consistent with everything we know from the BBC and the Sunday Times about how FIFA is run.

Sir Dave Richards has confirmed one of the stories to be true by the way:

http://soccernet.espn.go.com/news/story/_/id/918287/sir-dave-richards:-i-was-shocked-by-jack-warner%27-demands?cc=5739

Even if no evidence if forthcoming because perhaps it was behind closed doors and unprovable, we have two people who are known not to like one another very much corroborating one another's stories vs Jack Warner who calls them both liars. At the moment, it's dependent on whose word you belive as there's no substantial proof, but if you choose to believe Warner then more fool you.

BTW, Lord Triesman ought to have a lot of money on the bank, because he is going to pay a lot of reparations, since he can't prove what he says.

I'll repeat the very first thing I wrote:

"Bear in mind all witnesses have parliamentary privilige, cannot be sued, so are legally safe to name names."

He doesn't have to prove what he says to the Parliamentary committee. This was a Parliamentary investigation into the World Cup bid, not a court case, and he was telling MPs what he knew and the conversations he had had. If his allegations are baseless or unprovable, he won't be able to give any evidence to FIFA or the police, but if he has evidence it will be passed on. Nonetheless, nobody disbelieves him and worse, nobody is shocked that FIFA behaves like this.

Also, the biggest allegations, against Qatar 2022, come NOT from Triesman or anyone involved with the England bid but from the Sunday Times. An MP at the select committee said the Sunday Times has transcripts and tapes regarding this allegation.

If there is no evidence, no more will come of this, and Parliamentary Privilige will ensure no reparations are due. If there is evidence, and I suspect there is especially from the Sunday Times whose journalism has already lead to the removal of two ExCo members, then this will run and run.

Edited by RobH
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MPs seek to quiz Blatter on Cup bid

World football chief Sepp Blatter should appear before MPs to answer allegations of corruption in the World Cup bidding process, a senior Tory has said.

John Whittingdale said he has written to Fifa president Mr Blatter asking the governing body to give evidence to an investigation by the Commons committee he chairs.

"Ideally I would like someone to come and appear before the committee. In an ideal world I would like him to come himself," he said...

Prime Minister David Cameron's spokesman said it is up to Mr Blatter whether he chooses to accept the committee's invitation to give evidence.

But he added: "Anything which encourages Fifa to go out and explain what they are doing and their plans for football is a good thing."

Read more: http://www.belfasttelegraph.co.uk/news/local-national/uk/mps-seek-to-quiz-blatter-on-cup-bid-15154914.html#ixzz1MA3BnEsj

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Coates calls for FIFA changes

World soccer's governing body FIFA must respond to the allegations of corruption in the 2018-2022 World Cup bidding process, according to Australian Olympic Committee president John Coates.

Former chairman of England's 2018 bid Lord Triesman alleged in British parliament on Wednesday that several FIFA committee members had undertaken corrupt practices during the bidding process.

Triesman said two committee members had received up to $US1.5 million in bribes from the 2022-winning Qatar bid, which Australia competed against for hosting rights.

Australia only received one vote while England could only get two in the 2018 race, which was won by Russia.

And Coates said whether the allegations are true or not, FIFA's image was being damaged and the governing body needed to act.

"It must," Coates said on Thursday.

"Mud does stick when you throw it, so it is damaging.

"It's not good for FIFA's image as the world body and so I really hope they will address things, even if it's only the perception.

"Even if there's no evidence, at least there's a perception out there that there's something wrong and I hope - I'm sure - they'll look at it."

The Federal Government has said it is not going to pursue the claims, despite Australian taxpayers spending approximately $45 million on the World Cup bid.

And Coates believes that is the right action given it would be almost impossible to prove if the corruption had taken place.

"I don't know what the Australian Government can do," he said.

"I think the report of the Government's funding into the Australian soccer bid has already been discussed at Senate estimates and my understanding is there's been no untoward approaches to the Australian camp.

"But it is important that all bidding systems, whether it be for Olympic games, World Cups or world championships in any other sport, are above board, are conducted with full integrity and so really, the onus is now back on FIFA to investigate its own."

Coates said just as the International Olympic Committee had to change following corrupt practices in bidding to host the 2002 Winter Olympics, so FIFA needed to look at its bidding process.

"We're in the last month or so of where the 2018 Winter Olympics goes and I actually was reading the bid books again this morning, they're spending something like $US70 million on their bids, these cities," he said.

"Now, there's been no suggestion of any impropriety there but, as you mentioned, there was previously and 14 IOC members were shown the door back after Salt Lake City.

"I think one of the lessons that FIFA's probably learning is that it's certainly open to abuse, whether there's money changing hands or not, but in trading votes when you put the decisions on two World Cups together."

Coates said unless changes are made it might be hard for Football Federation Australia to receive the funding for future World Cup bids.

- ABC Sports

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The man has finally lost it: :lol:

Dear readers of Gazzetta dello Sport,

What is this really about? In the case of Fifa's presidential elections we are not really talking about candidate A versus candidate B, but about whether in future there will be candidates at all. The election of 1 June could cause a tectonic movement with irreversible damage. What is at stake is nothing less than the survival of Fifa. The issue of whether this world footballing organisation, developed with success over the years, will continue to exist after this date or, whether it will instead be sucked into a black hole.

"Is the situation really that dramatic?" you ask. The answer is yes, in theory it is. I am confident I will be able to win the elections with a clear majority of two-thirds of the votes. South America, North America, Europe, Oceania and a considerable part of Africa and Asia will continue to support my ideas. However it is still worth considering what the alternative would be: no one.

A world organisation like Fifa can only be run with a pyramid structure. For this reason, I am often accused of acting in an anti-democratic way. And yet the truth is quite the opposite. Whether you are talking about Italy or Papua New Guinea, every one of the 208 associations has one vote and equal rights. In fact I should be accused of practicing extreme democratic thought – only this way is it possible to guarantee the universality of football, the decision-making power, however, can and must be exercised on a central level, as in any international group.

Football works because it is based on one rule of play that is shared and valid on every continent. If it was not this way, everyone would do what they liked. To put it another way: who would decide which rules to impose if the decision-making powers were delegated to the six confederations? The principle that every carpenter goes by is valid for us too: the roof will do its job only as long as the foundations are doing theirs. If the ground slides, the whole building will fall down. And this is what 11 June is about: all or nothing!

Cordially,

Sepp Blatter

http://www.guardian.co.uk/football/2011/may/13/fifa-sepp-blatter


Other bit of news, the FA have appointed a QC to investigate the claims made by Triesman.

Whilst I personally believe all of the claims he made are true (and so do most other football fans), it's becoming clear that only one of the four claims - that against Jack Warner - is likely to be backed up by real evidence (though even that's something of a result to my mind):

"There will be first-hand evidence of Warner's alleged requests for cash to build an education centre and £500,000 to cover TV rights to show the World Cup in earthquake-hit Haiti. Premier League chairman Sir Dave Richards has confirmed he was present at the meeting where Triesman said Warner asked for the education centre, and other officials were aware of the Haiti request."

http://www.mirrorfootball.co.uk/news/Lord-Triesman-FIFA-corruption-inquiry-will-struggle-to-find-evidence-to-back-up-claims-article735234.html

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Grovelling FA are a laughing stock after World Cup bidding farce

After Lord Triesman's explosive allegations, the English game is guilty either of monumental naivety about how Fifa operate or of ignoring the organisation's seedy side

Paul Hayward

The Observer, Sunday 15 May 2011

Row back to December in Zurich, where the British prime minister is trying to seduce Fifa into awarding England the 2018 World Cup. When the great phrases of David Cameron are gathered up for posterity, this one will feature highly. To Sepp Blatter and his cardinals, the PM says: "We really believe that we know what you want."

Badly advised and wasting his time in Switzerland, Cameron might have thought he was addressing an international parliament, when even the most junior civil servant should have been wise enough to tell him he was prostrating himself before an inscrutable private club of 24 executive committee members, some of them on the make.

"Every day would be a beautiful day," the prime minister promised. Out came the royalty card (dashing Prince William). On to the stage stepped the alternative monarch (David Beckham). Many of the grandest names in English football and sport were dragged into this epic farce as Beckham evoked his late "Grandad Joe" and Manchester City's Eddie Afekafe spoke of the game as salvation for youngsters from deprived areas.

Afekafe, and many others, were at the court of Blatter out of a sense of patriotism and optimism about their country. But who led them there? Who sold them the lie? After Lord Triesman's explosive allegations before a parliamentary inquiry, the English game is guilty either of monumental naivety about how Fifa operate or simply chose to ignore the kind of experience Triesman had been having on the campaign trail, and elected to play the game anyway.

To think naivety was the problem, we have to believe Triesman kept all this to himself, sharing nothing with his 2018 bid colleagues before a newspaper sting forced his resignation. Andy Anson, the chief executive who called the BBC "unpatriotic" for running a Panorama programme on widespread corruption days before the 2018 vote, evidently never came across any evidence of skulduggery and walked round Zurich with earmuffs and a blindfold on.

The point is that England took their circus to the lakes quite willing to overlook Fifa's seedy side as long as they could go home with the prize: the World Cup, which is devalued with each allegation. The accusation – denied – that representatives of Qatar 2022 paid cash for votes has rendered the decision to send football's biggest carnival to a tiny Gulf state risible on more than merely logistical grounds.

"An excellent, remarkable pitch" is how Blatter described England's slick presentation, and then Fifa binned it, out of contempt for the English game and its administrators and because the real business was going on elsewhere. The Football Association didn't know that, we are expected to believe, until Triesman used parliamentary privilege to settle a few old scores. As the Panorama and Sunday Times allegations deepened, a few isolated voices called for England to withdraw from the whole burlesque, but the FA and their partners pressed on anyway, scoring a princely two votes (one was from their own Geoff Thompson) in the ballot.

Keep your eye on the FA at this point, because this was its chance to apologise for grovelling to Jack Warner, a Fifa vice-president, who is now accused of asking for money to build an "education centre" and buy World Cup television rights for Haiti, around the time Beckham was being sent to woo him and the England team were being flown to the Caribbean to play Trinidad & Tobago (this toadying still failed to secure Warner's vote).

So what to do next, in the snow of winter? Renounce Fifa or reintegrate, play the game, cultivate Blatter's Vatican? One man – Roger Burden (great name), the FA acting chairman – stood down, saying he could no longer trust or work with such a dubious organisation. But overall the integrationist argument won. The FA could not stand on the fringes, throwing rocks. They had to be involved.

The next important date is the end of April, when nominations closed for the office of Fifa presidency. Blatter is seeking re-election. He is opposed by Qatar's Mohamed bin Hammam, who is enduring his own PR calamity. Amadou Diallo, who is accused of being Qatar's 2022 fixer, is a close friend of Bin Hammam and worked for Fifa for more than six years. When the application deadline passed, Uefa declared in favour of Blatter, which meant that Thompson, England's representative, had by definition supported the re-election of a president who sits at the top of a dysfunctional culture. There was certainly no suggestion the FA would be opposing Blatter (this was before Triesman's parliamentary blitz).

Incredibly, the FA board meeting was scheduled for 19 May – after the Fifa deadline and after Uefa's pro‑Blatter declaration. Diary confusion, incompetence or institutionalised timidity? Or all three. Suddenly, post Triesman, the FA are now emboldened. "I don't think it [supporting Blatter] would go down very well," announced David Bernstein, the new FA chairman, pulling out the rabbit of an "abstention" while others on the FA board go on lobbying for Bin Hammam.

So what we see is a governing body reacting to events, avoiding responsibility, being trampled on by Fifa and Uefa and lacking moral leadership, even now, when they could denounce and disassociate themselves from Fifa in their current form without losing anything. No wonder Blatter and his gang just laughed at them in Zurich.

http://www.guardian.co.uk/football/blog/2011/may/15/grovelling-fa-world-cup

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The FA might be weak in the face of FIFA, but that doesn't change anything about how badly FIFA is run.

Abstention is the only option now for our FA since they've failed to put forward a reform candidate, as so many wanted them to do. It'll be a political gesture and won't change anything, as countries like England, France, Brazil, the US have equal voting power to small Pacific islands, but voting for either candidate in the Presidential Election is really not an option given that the incumbent has overseen years of corruption and the challenger is accused of handing out millions in bribes.

FIFA has to change almost everything about the way it works; that's clear to most people who love the game. That our FA haven't been brave enough in standing up to Blatter for whatever reason doesn't negate that fact in any way.


Interesting article on how Blatter runs FIFA. It's not just the FA who are unable or unwilling to try to change how FIFA works, so perhaps singling them out is a little unfair. The article also suggests the biggest reason why FIFA has continued the way it has:

"There have been a few calls for some big governments to begin properly investigating Fifa. This is almost impossible, however, as Blatter will only unveil his most potent weapon. At the slightest interference from a nation-state, Fifa will threaten that country’s FA with a ban from all football activity.

That possibly explains David Cameron’s limp statement today when asked whether he would like an inquiry into Lord Triesman’s claims.

“There is an investigation into these allegations. Sepp Blatter has said that these claims are being investigated and they will take action if there is evidence of wrong-doing. That is something we welcome. Ultimately, [Fifa] are the world governing body of football and it is for them, if need be, to do the things that they need to do to put their house in order.”

Again, threat of suspension for state interference is another abuse of a well-meaning regulation. The idea is to prevent dictatorships appointing their own people into football bodies. In practise, however, it’s Blatter’s “outer-defence mechanism”. Not only does it keep his potential voters – the FA heads – out of trouble but, by blocking any investigations into the national bodies, Blatter also prevents any peering into the international body."

http://eircomsports.eircom.net/News/blatter-insider.aspx

FIFA and Blatter have things very nicely sewn up. When the general response to accusations of, for example, Jack Warner asking for multi-million pounds bribes is "what's new?" you know how low FIFA have sunk. When the follow up to that response is "but there's nothing anyone can do", well, that shows how clever FIFA are at keeping the status quo regardless of how grubby it is.

Edited by RobH
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So, the Jack Warner allegation has been corroborated by Sir Dave Richards and an email trail the FA has with regard to the Haiti TV rights, and now the Leoz knighthood story is also gaining more traction:

Another British MP has come forward to claim that Paraguay's Nicolas Leoz (pictured) asked for a knighthood in return for voting for England to host the 2018 World Cup.

Bob Blizzard, who was the MP for Waveney until last year's General Election, claimed that the head of CONMEBOL used a diplomatic envoy to request the honour.

More here...

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Sepp Blatter believes FIFA could disappear if he is defeated in election: Fan reaction

Sepp Blatter warned on Friday, May 13, 2011, that FIFA "could disappear into a black hole" if he is defeated in June's presidential election. Blatter's statement came just three days after six members of FIFA's executive committee were accused of corruption in relation to the 2018/2022 World Cup bidding cycle.

Blatter is missing the boat by assuming FIFA will "disappear into a black hole" if he is not re-elected. The organization is already in a black hole. It's been in a black hole for years. FIFA has absolutely no credibility among soccer fans.

Since Blatter took over as FIFA president in 1998, the organization has been battered by multiple accusations of corruption. FIFA has been willing to force nations into spending ridiculous amounts of money to first bid on and then host a World Cup, while remaining unwilling to invest that money into goal-line technology and other advances that could help improve the game. Only recently has FIFA indicated that it would finally begin studying technological improvements for the future. However, that doesn't help Frank Lampard and England after having a clear goal completely missed by officials in last year's World Cup.

The organization has done little to hold many of its awful referees accountable for their mistakes on the field. Referee Koman Coulibaly, for example, waved off the potential game-winning goal in the United States-Slovenia World Cup match last year and never explained why he disallowed the goal. Referees are not required to explain their actions. Coulibaly did not officiate another match in the tournament, but faced no other disciplinary actions and still has not spoken of the disallowed goal.

These are but a few of the recent blemishes on Blatter's record as FIFA's president. For Blatter to insinuate that FIFA would not survive if he's voted out of office is ridiculous. The organization was around long before Blatter took office and will continue to be in some form or another long after he retires.

I don't necessarily believe that Blatter's opponent in next month's election, Asian Football Confederation (AFC) president Mohammed bin Hammam, is a better candidate to lead FIFA. Bin Hammam was influential in the same 2022 World Cup bidding cycle that's now under scrutiny. However, if Blatter is going to take this attitude about his presidency, then maybe the voters have no choice.

I think that Blatter and other members of his organization are failing to realize something: they don't understand that soccer is bigger than any one organization. It's one of the most beloved games in the world. If FIFA were to disappear tomorrow, the game would continue. Leagues would still run on nearly every continent, and superstars would still deliver the most beautiful goals possible. Soccer doesn't need FIFA; FIFA needs soccer.

Yahoo Sports

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We're getting our own hard questions asked in Parliament - though i think the targets are closer to home than FIFA.

Failed FIFA World Cup bid in Senate spotlight

THE opposition Veterans' Affair spokesman has turned up the heat on Sports Minister Mark Arbib, demanding he answer questions on how the $45.86 million the government gave Football Federation Australia for its failed World Cup bid was spent.

Michael Ronaldson upped the ante after last week's allegations of corruption during the bidding process for hosting rights to the 2018 World Cup, eventually handed to Russia and the 2022 Cup, given to Qatar.

Under parliamentary privilege, former chairman of the English Football Association David Triesman accused four members of the FIFA executive of soliciting bribes from England in exchange for support during the 2018 vote while The Sunday Times alleged two other members had accepted a $1.5m bribe each from Qatar.

Australia was eliminated at the first ballot for the 2022 rights after receiving just one vote during a FIFA executive meeting in Zurich on December 4.

In the lead-up to the voting, concerns had been continually raised over the decision to hire expensive consultants Peter Hargitay and Fedor Radmann, and the role of company Square 1 as part of FFA's bidding process.

Senator Ronaldson put 29 questions to Senator Arbib in the Senate on March 23.

"In particular I sought information as to the roles played by various people outside the official Australian bid team and those people are named in the question on notice," Senator Ronaldson said in a statement.

"In light of recent media reports (in last Saturday's Weekend Australian) and evidence given to a British parliamentary committee, Minister Arbib must immediately provide answers to my questions.

"Under Senate rules, Mark Arbib was required to answer my questions in writing by April 22. He is now almost a month overdue."

When contacted by The Australian, a spokesperson for Senator Arbib said Senator Ronaldson had asked similar questions before.

"Senator Arbib replied to similar questions from Senator Ronaldson on April 15 and is in the process of providing answers to the second (lot of) questions being provided to the Senate. It provides the same information with some further detail regarding the cost of the Bid Book, presentation and other marketing."

Senator Ronaldson's questions revolved heavily around Hargitay, Radmann and Square 1. Among other questions, he asked the following:

► As part of Australia's bid was Mr Hargitay engaged by either the government or the FFA?

► How much money was spent by either the FFA, the Australian government or both on retaining Mr Hargitay and/or Mr Hargitay's company?

► Is the minister aware if Mr Hargitay has ever been arrested or charged overseas for any criminal offences?

In 1995 Hargitay was arrested for drug trafficking by Jamaican Police but was later acquitted.

The Australian

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The FA Board has today agreed to abstain in the vote for the Presidency of FIFA.

There are a well-reported range of issues both recent and current which, in the view of The FA board, make it difficult to support either candidate.

The FA values its relationships with its international football partners extremely highly. We are determined to play an active and influential role through our representation within both UEFA and FIFA. We will continue to work hard to bring about any changes we think would benefit all of international football.

http://www.thefa.com/TheFA/NewsAndFeatures/2011/statement-190511

Not that it'll make any difference, but it's the correct decision and significant especially since it's going against UEFA's very firmly stated wishes:

"The Uefa executive committee has decided to give its unanimous support to Mr Joseph S Blatter in the upcoming Fifa presidential elections and strongly recommends all Uefa member associations do likewise"

Better late than never from our FA I suppose.

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True, though I'd question whether any private money would be forthcoming should the USA to wish to bid again for 2026, unless FIFA radically changes. I mean, there mightn't be the equivilent of a parliamentary inquiry in the US like there is in the UK and Australia, but those companies which sponsored the US' bid must be asking questions about whether they put money towards a bid running in a shoddy election. What are they making of all these corruption claims I wonder? You don't have to be Mystic Meg to predict how they'll respond if asked to sponsor a 2026 bid.

Incidentally, I read this earlier today before the news of the FA's abstention, which sort of relates:

..Collins, an influential voice on the Select Committee, said he was now talking to "parliamentarians" overseas about setting up an international forum to apply pressure on Fifa to address these issues.

He said the process was still at an early stage but he had received interest in the idea from Australia and the United States - two countries that, like England, suffered crushing defeats in the World Cup votes - as well as near-neighbours Germany and the Netherlands

http://news.bbc.co.uk/sport1/hi/football/13448737.stm

Edited by RobH
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True, though I'd question whether any private money would be forthcoming should the USA to wish to bid again for 2026, unless FIFA radically changes. I mean, there mightn't be the equivilent of a parliamentary inquiry in the US like there is in the UK and Australia, but those companies which sponsored the US' bid must be asking questions about whether they put money towards a bid running in a shoddy election. What are they making of all these corruption claims I wonder? You don't have to be Mystic Meg to predict how they'll respond if asked to sponsor a 2026 bid.

Oh, ways will be found.

After NYC 2012's defeat in 2005, I was very skeptical about the USOC finding an equally well-funded 2016 bidder. I was very surprised to learn that Chicago was able to raise another $70 million for its own doomed bid.

Remember, a WC 2026 bid will basically have the same list of 2022 venues PLUS I think one each from Chicago and the San Francisco Bay Area (both left out in the last go-around). Maybe the 49ers' Santa Clara facility will be up and running; and that would represent the Bay Area and San Jose...2 very strong soccer markets. So 2026 will, I believe, be even stronger than the 2022 bid.

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It's not about the strength of the bid though is it? And there weren't accusations of corruption swirling around after New York lost their 2012 bid; there weren't questions over the entire process, the voters' integrity, the IOC's modus operandi. Perhaps FIFA's current problems aren't as newsworthy in the US as they are here, but still, those companies that put money towards the US' bid must be aware of them and must be asking questions behind closed doors.

I'm sure the US, more than any country, can pump up a great amount of sponsorship very quickly. But still....there's a limit surely?

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/\ What I was pointing out in a prospective USA 2026 bid is that I don't think the 2022 defeat will have too many repercussions in funding a 2026 bid.

#1 - When will they pick the 2026 site (if the 2022 selection is NOT voided)? 2018 perhaps? So that's 7 years from now -- a long enuf time for burnt sponsors to have recovered.

#2 - With the SF Bay Area and Chicago in the mix, the bid will get even STRONGER sources of financing since SF and Chicago are major financial centers. And the likes of Coke, MasterCard, etc., will anticipate early enough that they will have to cough up a few hundred thousand $$ for the 2018 quest.

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