The FBI’s investigation of FIFA, the apparently corrupt-as-hell governing body of world soccer, will include a review of the bidding process that awarded the 2018 and 2022 World Cups to Russia and Qatar, an anonymous U.S. law enforcement source told Reuters. Good.
The award to Qatar was suspect from the get-go: holding the world’s most popular sporting event in temperatures that can reach 122 degrees seems ill-advised, and thousands of workers are expected to die building elaborate stadiums that will likely only be used a handful of times.
And then there were the leaked emails allegedly proving a Qatari official paid $5 million in bribes to win votes for Qatar’s bid for the Cup, and paid more than $300,000 to cover a former FIFA official’s legal fees.
It’s been rumored since last year that Qatar could be stripped of the 2022 World Cup due to the suspicion of foul play, but FIFA president Sepp Blatter, who stepped down this week and has since become a target of an active FBI investigation, declined to hold a re-vote.
The Office of the Attorney General of Switzerland is also looking into the 2018 and 2022 bidding process. In a statement last week, the AG announced:
The OAG and the Swiss Federal Criminal Police will be questioning 10 persons who took part in voting on the allocation of the 2018 and 2022 World Cups as members of the Executive Committee in 2010.
Qatar’s Foreign Minister, Khaled al-Attiyah, said Wednesday that his country wouldn’t lose the Cup, adding “I believe it is because of prejudice and racism that we have this bashing campaign against Qatar.”
Meanwhile, Football Federation Australia chairman Frank Lowy has come forward to claim Australia ran “a clean bid” for the Cup back in 2010 (when the votes for the 2018 and 2022 took place), but “others did not.” He also alleged hilariously brazen grifter and former CONCACAF chairman Jack Warner duped Australia into paying $500,000 for a “feasibility study,” which Warner later kept for himself.
“It was paid into a CONCACAF account, not Jack Warner’s personal account,” Lowy said.
[Photo: AP Images]