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  1. I just was just starting to be somewhat happy with this move, if only for the fact that Marc Bircham will be around to whisper sweet nothings in Hoilett's ear about suiting up for Canada... ... and then I saw this: ********** training with QPR following release from Manchester City Noooooooooo!!!! Edit: [i'm not the only one!]
  2. I certainly don't. The actions of Warner are central to the issue of FIFA's systemic problems surrounding corruption. If I post more in here about Warner than others, it's mainly because: a) Warner seems to have been the most blatant and brazen example of a corrupt FIFA official, and for a long time he was our (i.e., Canada's) most senior representative within the FIFA inner circle. Please, feel free to post more about Mohamed Bin Hammam, Issa Hayatou, Worawi Makudi, Ricardo Teixeira, etc, etc, etc. Please also feel free to ignore this thread.
  3. I understand that "aid money" sent to a football organization is not really going to do much to feed or house the helpless and dirt-poor victims of a major natural disaster, but Good God! I thought my opinion of Jack Warner could not really get any lower... http://wired868.com/868/index.php/volley/item/91-warner-named-in-haitian-aid-scandal Warner named in Haitian aid scandal Written by Lasana Liburd On 12 February 2012 Trinidad and Tobago Works Minister and ex-FIFA Vice President Jack Warner is a central figure in a fresh financial scandal after an exclusive report by the UK Sunday Times revealed that close to $4.4 million (US$690,000) donated by FIFA and South Korea never made it to the Federation of Haitian Football (FHF). Warner, in his capacity as CONCACAF and Caribbean Football Union (CFU) president, collected $4.76 million (US$750,000) on behalf of Haiti after the Caribbean island was stunned by a massive earthquake on 12 January 2010. The Haitian government estimated that 316,000 persons were killed including over 30 football officials as the FHF building was reduced to rubble. However, FHF Yves Jean-Bart told Sunday Times reporters, James Corbett, Jonathan Calvert and Heidi Blake that only $381,000 (US$60,000) made it to grief-stricken nation from the aid money allegedly given to Warner. "Warner always told me your money is there, is available, any time," Jean-Bart told the Times, "but I didn't get it." Wired868 attempted to contact Warner by phone but the Chaguanas West MP has not yet responded to enquiries. FIFA today confirmed to Wired868.com that it wired $1.6 million (US$250,000) to the Trinidad and Tobago Football Federation (TTFF) account to be used as emergency aid in Haiti. The TTFF has been unable to properly account for the missing money and, as a result, FIFA will stop funding the local football body until further notice. "We can confirm that FIFA wired immediately after the devastating earthquake USD 250,000 as an emergency aid for Haiti to the account of the Trinidad and Tobago Football Federation (TTFF)," the FIFA Media Office told Wired868. "This was on request of the then CONCACAF President Jack Warner and subsequently transferred to the TTFF account, in order to immediately provide support to Haiti. "FIFA can also confirm that it had been informed by the Haiti Football Association (FHF) in autumn 2011 that it had only received USD 60,000 of this emergency aid." FIFA further informed Wired868 that the TTFF will feel the brunt of its sanctions for failing to account for the money. "Consequently FIFA, in a letter, requested in October 2011 a full explanation from the TTFF into those funds," stated FIFA. "As FIFA has not received any satisfactory response FIFA has stopped with immediate effect any payments to the TTFF until it will receive proper accounts of these funds allocated as an immediate relief support to the FHF." FIFA provides each member association with an annual subvention of $1.6 million (US$250,000). The FIFA Media Office did not respond to Wired868 query as to why Haiti's aid money was sent through the TTFF and not via a CONCACAF or CFU account. Wired868 emailed the TTFF for response and, allthough an official acknowledged receiving the email, the local body is yet to reply. Warner toured Port-au-Prince in January 2010 and told Haitians that sport will play its part in helping the restoration of one of the world's poorest nations. Apart from FIFA aid, wealthy South Korean businessman and politician, Chung Mong-Joon, who is also a former FIFA vice president, donated $3.2 million (US$500,000) to Haiti's relief fund. South Korea was bidding to host the 2022 World Cup at the time. "It is a humanitarian crisis," said Warner. "Sport is a vehicle for social transformation... Let us share this hope with Haiti so she can rise again. "FIFA understands its role in inspiring a nation... Let us use sport to ignite hope." Warner further promised to coordinate aid efforts for Haiti. "My friends have told me that they are hungry and in need of basic human supplies," said Warner. "A tide of hungry humanity surrounds me. How can I not hear their cries for help? "When I return home I will personally embark on a food drive to get you these supplies." Haiti felt that Warner's actions fell well short of his noble words and complained to FIFA last year. FIFA subsequently released $2.4 million (US$379,500) to aid the restoration of Haitian football from a special projects fund and provided the FHF with a technical consultant for one year to help set up football development programmes there. The Times claimed sources close to the Korean Football Association provided payment details that showed their aid money initially went to a CONCACAF bank account in Trinidad. This money also allegedly failed to reach Haiti. It is unclear whether South Korea or CONCACAF will attempt to locate and recover this funds. FIFA's decision to cut funding for the TTFF is another untimely blow to the local body that is fighting half of the 2006 World Cup team in High Court and losing. The "Soca Warriors" seized all of the TTFF's removable assets last Wednesday in an effort to service a $4.6 million debt that the organisation failed to satisfy in October 2011. Thirteen 2006 World Cup players, the TTFF and its former President Oliver Camps return to court on Tuesday. Warner's disinclination to provide financial accountability will again be a talking point as the ex-FIFA vice president failed to follow Justice Devindra Rampersad's instructions to provide, by 10 February 2012, written accounts of all income, donations, gifts, grants, benefits and expenditure related to the 2006 World Cup. The Works Minister, who quit FIFA last June while a subject of bribery allegations, was also subjected to a recent audit by the Finance Ministry over his handling of the Program for Upgrading Road Efficiency (PURE) although the results have not yet been made public. In the case of the allegedly misplaced Haitian funds, it seems that the TTFF will absorb the brunt of FIFA's punishment.
  4. Ooh, this is getting juicy. Blatter about to throw even more of his cronies under the bus? Sepp Blatter ready to approve release of Fifa fraud trial documents guardian.co.uk, Tuesday 18 October 2011 20.57 BST The Fifa president, Sepp Blatter, is this week expected to put pressure on his executive committee to introduce measures to convince a sceptical public that he is capable of meaningful reform, including the release of explosive documents that could provide proof that senior officials took bribes. Blatter is preparing for the pivotal executive committee meeting in Zurich on Thursday at which he will advance a "zero tolerance" agenda that he hopes will convince Fifa's many critics that he is serious about reform. According to the BBC, one plan under consideration is to deal with the past by allowing Swiss courts to release the controversial documents. For more than a decade Fifa has fought against the details contained in the papers being made public. But there is a growing acceptance in Zurich that Blatter's only hope of survival is to acknowledge the mistakes of the past, even at the risk of enraging those who remain on the executive committee who may possibly be implicated. Last November, days before the vote for the 2018 and 2022 World Cups, the BBC's Panorama programme alleged that $100m (£63.65m) had been paid between 1991 and 2001 by International Sports and Leisure in kickbacks to officials in return for TV and marketing contracts. It alleged that the Fifa executive committee members Nicolás Leoz, Ricardo Teixeira and Issa Hayatou were among the recipients. All three denied the claims. Teixeira, who is under renewed investigation from Brazilian police over money‑laundering claims related to the payments, was alleged to have received £6m in bribes via a company called Sanud that was registered in Liechtenstein, although he denies the allegations. ISL was declared bankrupt in May 2001 but the fallout continued until June last year, when the second of two Swiss court cases ended with an agreement by lawyers acting for Fifa and the officials in question to pay 5.5m Swiss francs to settle the case. Without naming the officials involved, the prosecutor in the canton of Zug said last year: "In the course of the proceedings, the accused did not deny the receipt of the monies, although they denied criminal liability." Corporate bribery was not a crime in Switzerland before 2001. At the time Fifa said: "It is important to recall that the decision was made on matters which took place prior to the year 2000 and that there has been no court conviction against Fifa. In addition the Fifa president has been cleared of any wrongdoing in this matter." Allowing the release of the documents is one of a number of measures that Blatter is considering putting before the executive committee as he seeks to show he is serious about his reform agenda. Other plans include making the ethics committee more independent, introducing a "solutions committee" to oversee reform and reform of the executive committee itself. http://www.guardian.co.uk/football/2011/oct/18/sepp-blatter-fifa-documents
  5. That's actually a really great idea, and I'm surprised I haven't seen that suggested before, for all the other potential Canadian players. Showing the players that the fans care even before they suit up for Canada can't hurt; perhaps the fence-sitters would feel more appreciated, and those already committed to Canada would only feel more justified about their commitment.
  6. "presumption of innocence" my a$$... Jack Warner and Mohamed Bin Hammam involved in bribery after Fifa finds 'comprehensive evidence' By Paul Kelso, Chief Sports Reporter 2:02PM BST 22 Jun 2011 Fifa’s ethics committee has ruled that there is “comprehensive, convincing and overwhelming evidence” that Mohamed Bin Hammam and Jack Warner colluded in the payment of bribes to Caribbean football officials, according to a secret report seen by Telegraph Sport. The ethics committee’s report, which prompted a full investigation into the allegations, found there was a “compelling” prima facie case that Bin Hammam was engaged in an act of bribery, and that Warner was “an accessory to corruption”. The revelation of the ethics committee’s findings comes two days after Warner resigned as a Fifa vice president, which prompted the governing body to drop its investigation into him and declare that "the presumption of innocence is maintained". In fact the findings against Warner states that there is “prima facie” evidence that bribes were paid, and concludes that it is likely that Warner and Bin Hammam were involved in an attempt to buy influence ahead of the Fifa presidential election, in which the Qatari was a candidate. It is understood that the ethics committee’s findings were sent to Mr Warner last week, three days before he resigned from all football posts. The ethics committee findings were compiled by Namibian judge Petrus Damuseb, who based his report on a evidence prepared by US attorneys on behalf of Fifa executive committee member Chuck Blazer, and following evidence given by Warner and Bin Hammam in personal hearings at the end of May. The allegations focus on a special meeting of the Caribbean Football Union in Trinidad on May 10-11, at which it is claimed delegates from up to 25 nations were offered $40,000 in cash to vote for Bin Hammam in the presidential election. Four nations, led by the Bahamas, offered witness statements to the Blazer inquiry stating that they were offered the money and that Warner told them that it was from Bin Hammam, and was linked to the presidential election. Both men denied the allegations but were provisionally suspended from Fifa and a full investigation led by former FBI director Louis Freeh was launched. Both Warner and Bin Hammam are scheduled to be interviewed in Zurich as part of the investigation, perhaps before the end of the month, though Warner has said he will not speak to Freeh. Warner, then the president of the CFU, arranged the Trinidad meeting at Bin Hammam’s request because the Qatari wanted to address delegates about his presidential campaign. Bin Hammam claimed that he was unable to speak to them at the Concacaf congress a week earlier in Miami because of visa problems, but according to Blazer the Qatari expressly requested a separate meeting. The ethics committee concluded that the witness statements of the Caribbean football officials and Blazer were credible. Warner’s evidence to the ethics committee is described as “self-serving” and it found that he failed to provide … a plausible” explanation as to why the witnesses would have lied. The report states: "The comprehensive, convincing and overwhelming evidence permits to conclude prima facie that the accused [Warner] has initiated and arranged a special meeting of the CFU member associations for Mr Bin Hammam. "Furthermore on the occasion of this meeting it seems Mr Bin Hammam offered, at least indirectly and under the pledge of secrecy, to each of the member associations an envelope containing USD 40,000. "The FIFA ethics committee is of the primary opinion that the accused [Warner] had knowledge of the respective payments and condoned them. "It seems quite likely that the accused [Warner] contributed himself to the relevant actions, thereby acting as an accessory to corruption." The report adds: "The committee is also of the opinion that the respective money gifts can probably only be explained if they are associated with the FIFA presidential elections of 1 June 2011. "Therefore it appears rather compelling to consider the actions of Mr Bin Hammam constitute prima facie an act of bribery, or at least an attempt to commit bribery.” The report states that it was “inconceivable” that Warner “would not have known anything about the money offered to the attendees of the meeting concerned.” "It appears prima facie impossible, in the opinion of the FIFA ethics committee, that the accused [Warner] could have considered the money distributed ... as legally or ethically proper and without any connection to the upcoming FIFA presidential election. "Consequently, the accused [Warner] would at least be considered as an accessory to the aforementioned violations." In a statement issued to Telegraph Sport Bin Hammam re-stated his denial of any involvement in improper conduct. “There is nothing I can say more than I deny the allegations and insist that I have not done anything wrong during special Congress at Trinidad,” he said. Warner had not responded to a request for comment at time of publication but earlier this week said he was convinced that he would be cleared of any wrongdoing. “I am convinced, and I am advised by Counsel, that since my actions did not extend beyond facilitating the meeting that gave Mr Bin Hammam an opportunity to pursue his aborted bid for the FIFA presidency, I would be fully exonerated by any objective arbiter,” he said. http://www.telegraph.co.uk/sport/football/international/8591788/Jack-Warner-and-Mohamed-Bin-Hammam-involved-in-bribery-after-Fifa-finds-comprehensive-evidence.html
  7. A lot of the time Andrew Jennings seems way out there, but lately it's looks like maybe he's just way out ahead of everyone else on figuring out this corruption thing. An interesting read, predicting the demise of Blatter at the hands of Kissinger and the sponsors: http://www.transparencyinsport.org/Henry_Kissinger_will_boot_out_Blatter/henry_kissinger_will_boot_out_Blatter_page1.html
  8. A few interesting tidbits in this update, including that Bin Hammam was apparently pressured by his own Emir to withdraw from the FIFA presidency race in order to avoid a re-vote for 2022. Fifa's investigation into bribery allegations against Mohamed Bin Hammam and Jack Warner takes new twist By Paul Kelso, Chief Sports Reporter 10:30PM BST 02 Jun 2011 The independent investigation is being led by the former director of the FBI Louis Freeh, who was appointed last week and is working under the direction of the Fifa ethics committee. It has also emerged that two other Fifa executive committee members travelled to the meeting at which Bin Hammam addressed members of the Caribbean Football Union. Worawi Makudi of Thailand and V Manilal Fernando of Sri Lanka, who was appointed to the executive committee this week, are understood to have accompanied Bin Hammam to the special conference in Port-of-Spain. It is unclear in what capacity Makudi and Manilal attended. Attempts to contact both men on Thursday were unsuccessful. Since Freeh opened the investigation last week a number of national associations present at a meeting in Trinidad, at which $1 million (£600,000) in bribes are alleged to have been offered, have made contact. Freeh, 61, served as an FBI special agent before becoming an attorney, and made his name as lead prosecutor in a notorious New York Mafia trial in the 1980s. He was director of the FBI for eight years between 1993 and 2001. Freeh has begun interviewing witnesses who attended the CFU meeting, including those who provided statements and sworn affidavits to the original investigation ordered by American Fifa executive committee member Chuck Blazer. Former US federal prosecutor John Collins compiled a report based on witness statements from seven Caribbean football officials from four countries, as well as testimony from Blazer. Blazer is expected to be interviewed by Freeh, as well as Anton Sealey, the president of the Bahamas Football Association who was first to raise the alleged bribes with Blazer The new witnesses have come forward since Blazer warned members of the CFU earlier this week to return any money they may have been offered, or face investigation. Bin Hammam and Warner have been suspended pending the outcome of the investigation into allegations that they offered $1million (£600,000) in bribes at the CFU summit. Officials are said to have been offered $40,000 in brown envelopes in exchange for their vote in the presidential election. Both Bin Hammam and Warner deny any wrongdoing. Warner has submitted a lengthy defence of his conduct, dismissing the allegations as a fabrication. His statement is accompanied by supporting statements from 13 Caribbean nations who say that the allegations are false.Those statements will also be closely scrutinised by Freeh. Bin Hammam has appealed against his suspension and says the allegations are part of a dirty tricks campaign that prevented him from challenging Sepp Blatter in the Fifa presidential election. Bin Hammam stood down from the election under pressure from the Emir of Qatar, who wants to avoid Fifa re-examining the bidding process for the 2022 World Cup. The Qatar bid has been the subject of further scrutiny after Warner published an email in which Fifa general secretary Jerome Valcke said the World Cup had been “bought”. Valcke denied that he was implying corruption and Blatter said there is no case for Qatar to answer, but further revelations would make it hard to resist an investigation given the Fifa president’s commitment to “zero tolerance” this week. http://www.telegraph.co.uk/sport/football/international/8553478/Fifas-investigation-into-bribery-allegations-against-Mohamed-Bin-Hammam-and-Jack-Warner-takes-new-twist.html
  9. I can't believe it's taken this long, but finally someone in the mainstream media is asking what I want to know: where the frick is the CSA in all of this? Time for the CSA to come clean Stephen Brunt From Friday's Globe and Mail Published Thursday, Jun. 02, 2011 8:05PM EDT Over the past week, FIFA, which controls world soccer, descended fully into farce. Accusations of corruption flew back and forth, alleged crooks pointed fingers at other alleged crooks, photographs of brown envelopes stuffed with cash were circulated, all of it culminating in a presidential election with all the transparency and democratic legitimacy of voting day in North Korea. ... more here: http://www.theglobeandmail.com/sports/soccer/time-for-the-csa-to-come-clean/article2045271/
  10. Apparently not... New CONCACAF chief turns on Blazer in FIFA row The soccer controversy that led to the banning of two leading FIFA officials has taken another twist with CONCACAF's new interim president taking aim at his general secretary Chuck Blazer. Barbadian Lisle Austin, appointed interim president on Monday in place of suspended Trinidadian Jack Warner, moved quickly by issuing Blazer with a demand to explain himself and to stop working with the U.S. lawyers who presented evidence against Warner. It was Blazer's report to FIFA's Ethics Committee, which included allegations of bribery against Warner and Asian soccer chief Mohammed Bin Hammam of Qatar, that led to this week's explosion of accusations and counter-accusations at world football's governing body in Zurich. In a letter to Blazer seen by Reuters, Austin gave the American 48 hours to explain by what authority he appointed Chicago-based lawyers Collins and Collins to conduct investigations into the members of CONCACAF, the Confederation of North, Central American and Caribbean Association Football. The letter also asks Blazer to produce minutes or documentation to show the decision was taken by the confederation's executive committee and to stop Collins and Collins from "conducting any business" including legal advice or representation for CONCACAF. Lawyer John Collins has had a long-standing relationship with CONCACAF and with the U.S. Soccer Federation. Blazer was not immediately available for comment but the letter indicates the new post-Warner CONCACAF is unlikely to make a harmonious start. ... http://uk.eurosport.yahoo.com/30052011/2/new-concacaf-chief-turns-blazer-fifa-row.html
  11. OMG, this just keeps getting better and better! Fifa opens ethics proceedings against Sepp Blatter Simon Burnton guardian.co.uk, Friday 27 May 2011 11.00 BST Fifa have opened ethics proceedings against their own president, Sepp Blatter, in a move which will add to the air of turmoil surrounding the organisation as it prepares for its presidential election, scheduled for next week. Blatter refused to comment on the move, saying: "I cannot comment on the proceedings that have been opened against me today. The facts will speak for themselves." The move follows demands yesterday by Mohamed Bin Hammam, Blatter's only rival in the presidential elections and already the subject of a separate investigation, that the 75-year-old Swiss should be put under similar scrutiny. The organisation is bound by their rules to investigate any complaint made by an executive committee member, of which Bin Hammam is one. Blatter will appear before the ethics committee on Sunday to answer charges that he knew about alleged cash payments. Bin Hammam will be at the same hearing to answer a charge of bribery, as will another of the most powerful men in football, the Concacaf president and Fifa vice-president Jack Warner. The allegations against Warner and Bin Hammam centre on evidence that bundles of cash of up to $40,000 were handed over to members of the Caribbean Football Union at meetings in Trinidad earlier this month. Bin Hammam is claiming that Blatter was already aware of the allegations but had not reported them, which in itself would be a breach of Fifa's code of ethics. Meanwhile, the FA are due to send to Fifa today the report they commissioned by the barrister James Dingemans QC into claims by ex-chairman Lord Triesman that Warner and three other Fifa ExCo members made improper requests during England's 2018 World Cup bid. It is understood that only the claims against Warner have been corroborated by witnesses. The claim that Warner asked for financial help to build an education centre has been backed up by Premier League chairman Sir Dave Richards, while Dingemans' file also includes an email from Warner to Triesman asking the FA to pay for Haiti's World Cup TV rights. Fifa's statement on Blatter's charge reads as follows: "On 26 May 2011, Fifa Executive Committee member Mohamed bin Hammam has requested the Fifa Ethics Committee to open ethics proceedings against Fifa President Joseph S Blatter on the basis that, in the report submitted by Fifa Executive Committee member Chuck Blazer earlier this week, Fifa Vice-President Jack A Warner would have informed the Fifa President in advance about alleged cash payments to delegations attending a special meeting of the Caribbean Football Union (CFU) apparently organised jointly by Jack A Warner and Mohamed bin Hammam on 10 and 11 May 2011 and that the Fifa President would have had no issue with these. "Subsequently, the Fifa Ethics Committee today opened a procedure against the Fifa President in compliance with art. 16 of the Fifa Code of Ethics. "Joseph S Blatter has been invited to take position by 28 May 2011, 11am CET and to attend a hearing by the Fifa Ethics Committee at the Home of Fifa (Zurich) on 29 May 2011. "No additional comments will be made by Fifa until further notice." http://www.guardian.co.uk/football/2011/may/27/fifa-ethics-proceedings-president-sepp-blatter
  12. Wow. This is huge. Is this the beginning of the end for our good buddy Jack? http://news.bbc.co.uk/sport2/hi/football/13544347.stm Fifa begins ethics inquiry into Bin Hammam & Jack Warner Fifa is investigating allegations against four officials, including vice-president Jack Warner and presidential candidate Mohamed bin Hammam. The allegations, including bribery, were made by executive committee member Chuck Blazer. Blazer claims Fifa's code of ethics was violated at a meeting "apparently organised" by Bin Hammam and Warner. The other two officials are Debbie Minguell and Jason Sylvester from the Caribbean Football Union. The CFU represents 25 Fifa member nations as well as five territories not affiliated to Fifa. The meeting, on 10 and 11 May, was in relation to the Fifa presidential election which takes place on 1 June. Bin Hammam, the president of the Asian Football Confederation, is running against current president Sepp Blatter to be the new head of football's world governing body. The four officials have been called to a hearing of Fifa's ethics committee in Zurich on 29 May. Fifa has announced that Claudio Sulser, the head of the ethics committee, will not take charge of the hearing as he shares Swiss nationality with Bin Hammam's presidential rival Blatter. The committee's deputy chairman Petrus Damaseb of Namibia will instead chair proceedings. The Fifa statement read: "On May 24 2011, Fifa executive committee member and Concacaf general secretary Chuck Blazer reported to Fifa secretary general Jerome Valcke possible violations of the Fifa code of ethics allegedly committed by officials. "In particular, the report referred to a special meeting of the Caribbean Football Union (CFU), apparently organised jointly by Fifa vice-president Jack A. Warner and Fifa executive committee member Mohamed Bin Hammam, which took place on May 10 and 11 2011. "This meeting was linked to the upcoming Fifa presidential election. "In view of the facts alleged in this report, which include bribery allegations, Fifa secretary general Jerome Valcke, in compliance with art. 16 of the Fifa code of ethics, yesterday requested the Fifa ethics committee to open ethics proceedings." The allegations - leveled by Warner's longtime Concacaf ally Blazer- are likely to wreck Bin Hammam's already fading hopes of defeating Blatter in the vote by Fifa's 208 national members. News of the inquiry comes soon after Fifa launched a separate investigation into claims made by former Football Association and England 2018 World Cup bid chairman Lord Triesman. Triesman alleged that four Fifa members - Warner, Nicolas Leoz, Ricardo Teixeira and Worawi Makudi - sought "bribes" in return for backing England's failed 2018 World Cup bid. Warner said the allegations made against him by Triesman were "a piece of nonsense". British MPs at the culture, media and sport committee in the House of Commons have also claimed that Confederation of African Football (Caf) president Issa Hayatou and executive committee member Jacques Anouma took bribes related to Qatar's 2022 World Cup bid. Both men have denied the claims while Qatar 2022 World Cup officials described allegations they paid bribes in return for votes as "distressing, insulting and incomprehensible". On Sunday, Blatter angrily denied that Fifa is corrupt and added there is no evidence to support recent accusations of wrongdoing. Blatter's campaign adviser, Brian Alexander, said the Fifa president would not comment on the case.
  13. I was really bummed that England lost out on their campaign to get the 2018 World Cup, but maybe, perhaps, some good will come out of this... http://www.guardian.co.uk/football/2011/may/11/fifa-pressure-reform-bribery-scandal European Union turns up the heat on Fifa to tackle bribery claims Owen Gibson guardian.co.uk, Wednesday 11 May 2011 22.26 BST The European Union is to make reforming Fifa a "key priority" as pressure from governments around the world for a fundamental overhaul of world football's governing body grew in the wake of fresh allegations of bribery and corruption during the World Cup bidding process. As Fifa promised to investigate claims from the former Football Association chairman Lord Triesman that four Fifa executive committee members asked for money or honours in return for their vote, and further claims made in the Sunday Times that two more accepted bribes of $1.5m (£900,000) from Qatar, the Conservative sports minister insisted pressure on the organisation would increase significantly. Hugh Robertson said an international consensus was forming that Fifa should be made to reform in the way the International Olympic Committee was forced to change after the Salt Lake City scandal in 1999. Then, 10 IOC members were expelled or forced to resign over allegations of vote-buying during Salt Lake City's winning bid for the 2002 Winter Olympics. "I would like to see really concerted pressure from international bodies to get them to reform," said Robertson. "We're pretty wound up about it, the Dutch [and] the Australians are pretty wound up and there are a number of others." He said finding a way to force Fifa to reform would be one of the "key objectives" for Poland, which takes over the running of the EU Council from July. "Cleaning up and reforming international sports institutions is a key objective of the Polish presidency for next year," he said. "If the commission take an interest, if whatever country is holding the presidency takes an interest, if we can sustain that for more than one cycle, then we have a chance. No organisation likes being held up to international ridicule and constantly being told they are corrupt. It's got to be much more transparent. They have got to be much more open and much more transparent." Sepp Blatter, who is increasingly likely to win a fourth term as Fifa president on 1 June, and his challenger Mohamed Bin Hammam have promised reforms to Fifa's structure and procedures, including the World Cup bidding process. But there remains widespread cynicism about whether they will deliver. Blatter said the allegations would be dealt with before the body's congress in Zurich in three weeks' time, when the 73-year-old hopes to win another four years as president. "We have to do it very fast," he told al-Jazeera. "We have a Congress to come and have to deal with this matter before the Congress and not just kick it out of the minds of Fifa and [say] we will deal with it afterwards." "We have to do it now, immediately, and we have three weeks.We must accelerate the movement, whether it is for the good or for the bad." All four of the executive committee members accused by Triesman have denied wrongdoing. Brazil's long-standing federation chief, Ricardo Teixeira, described as "absurd" the allegation that he asked Triesman to "come and tell me what you have got for me". Teixeira said he would pursue all possible "legal action against Triesman", although it is unclear how he would do so under English law. As Fifa demanded evidence relating to the claims made by Triesman under parliamentary privilege, the FA said its general secretary, Alex Horne, had written to the world governing body offering its full assistance. Fifa said in a statement that its general secretary, Jérôme Valcke, had written to the FA and expressed "extreme concern" at the allegations "questioning the integrity of some Fifa ExCo members in connection with the bidding procedure for the 2018 and 2022 Fifa World Cups". Bin Hammam, the Qatari president of the Asian Football Confederation who played a key role in securing the 2022 World Cup for his country, denied bribes were paid to Issa Hayatou and Jacques Anouma. "I can assure you nothing like this has happened from our side. If someone wants to damage reputations like this then they have to provide the proof. You can't just accuse people just like that. It didn't happen. It is fine to say something, to try to damage the reputation of somebody but where is the proof?" In addition to the allegation involving Teixeira, Triesman claimed the Fifa vice-president Jack Warner asked for cash to build an education centre and buy World Cup TV rights for the people of Haiti; that Thailand's Worawi Makudi wanted to be given the TV rights to a friendly between England and Thailand; and that Paraguay's Nicolás Leoz asked for a knighthood. Warner said he "laughed like hell" at Triesman's claims: "First of all, I laugh like hell because it took those guys from December to now [to say] that I have £2.5m, I believe. I never asked anybody for anything. When these guys came here, we promised to help. I showed them a place where they can put a playground. They promised to come back but they never did. That's all." Leoz's spokesman called the accusations "pure fantasy and morbid", and a statement issued on behalf of Hayatou, the head of African football, said "he has categorically denied allegations of corruption brought against him before parliament in Britain. "This kind of reporting to create and propagate false information to destroy his reputation, leadership and integrity will not succeed. The president of CAF said all these accusations brought against him are pure invention and an attempt to discredit him."
  14. I'm starting to feel like I'm spamming here, but Good God, it just never ends: Fifa's demand to be exempt of UK money-laundering legislation * Matt Scott * The Guardian, Wednesday 1 December 2010 Fifa has demanded an exemption from a key element of UK money-laundering legislation as part of the government guarantees required in relation to the England 2018 bid. Digger has obtained a list of the guarantees that were signed off by the government as part of the bid book delivered to Fifa in May and can reveal the presence of an incredible carve-out from existing laws. Guarantee 5, of eight areas of demands that Fifa has detailed for governments, relates to Bank & Foreign Exchange Operations. Section 5.B is entitled "Foreign Exchange Undertakings" and states that the government must provide for "the unrestricted import and export of all foreign currencies to and from the UK, as well as the unrestricted exchange and conversion of these currencies into US dollars, euros or Swiss francs". The allowance would apply to hundreds of individuals ranging from the delegates and staff of Fifa, its confederations and member associations, match officials, as well as an unspecified number of unnamed "Fifa Listed Individuals". Yet quite what the carve-out would be needed for is unexplained, and no such requirements were required by the International Olympic Committee for London 2012. What is clear is that they permit Fifa and those it anoints to be exempt from a major element of the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002. That states: "A customs officer or constable may seize any cash if he has reasonable grounds for suspecting that it is, recoverable [stolen] property, or intended by any person for use in unlawful conduct." But if England 2018 wins and the government guarantees to Fifa are incorporated in law, customs officers must just wave it through. Indeed, this is just one of a long list of Fifa demands. The BBC revealed on Monday the existence of exemptions that will provide full UK entry-visa clearance and a tax saving worth hundreds of millions of pounds. No wonder Fifa stated the UK government has "certain reservations and qualifications to four government guarantees as contained in the government legal statement". http://www.guardian.co.uk/football/2010/dec/01/fifa-government-government-exemptions
  15. Here's how bad it's getting for FIFA: the IOC is now starting to look like a beacon of integrity in sport: IOC asks BBC to give evidence to authorities By Karolos Grohmann BERLIN, Nov 30 (Reuters) - The International Olympic Committee (IOC) urged the BBC on Tuesday to give any evidence of alleged bribes taken by FIFA executives to the proper authorities after the screening of its Panorama programme. It also said it would refer the matter to its Ethics Commission as one of the executives involved, Issa Hayatou, was an IOC member. “The IOC has taken note of the allegations made by BBC Panorama and will ask the programme makers to pass on any evidence they may have to the appropriate authorities,” it said. “The IOC has a zero tolerance against corruption and will refer the matter to the IOC Ethics Commission.” The television programme broadcast on Monday said FIFA executive committee members Ricardo Teixeira of Brazil, hosts of the next soccer World Cup, Confederation of African Football (CAF) chief Hayatou and South American (CONMEBOL) head Nicolas Leoz took bribes from a marketing company to help it win a lucrative contract. Hayatou, from Cameroon, has been an IOC member since 2001 and sits on its Women and Sport commission. He was also a member of the coordination commission that monitored preparations for the 2008 Beijing Olympics. The IOC is sensitive to corruption allegations after its reputation was severely damaged following the bribery scandal of the 2002 Salt Lake City Games where gifts were exchanged for votes in favour of the U.S. city. Several IOC members were expelled and others reprimanded, and the organisation has banned travel by its members to candidate cities since then. The Panorama programme was broadcast three days before FIFA elects the hosts for the 2018 and 2022 World Cups. England, Russia, Spain/Portugal and Belgium/Netherlands are bidding for 2018, with United States, Japan, Australia, South Korea and Qatar the candidates for 2022. FIFA’s executive committee, which holds exclusive voting rights in the contest, has already lost two of its 24 members after they were suspended earlier this month for offering to sell their votes to undercover newspaper reporters from Britain’s Sunday Times newspaper. http://sports.yahoo.com/soccer/news?slug=reu-worldioc
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