Analysing the latest developments of the most recent FIFA scandal reveals some interesting data about the way in which the rights to host some international football tournaments were awarded. The FIFA World Cups in Russia (2018) and Qatar (2022) are no surprise entries on the short list of allegedly bought hosting rights to such events and it seems as though, the suspicion of the public has been somewhat confirmed.
The on-going FBI investigation has just revealed that in May 2013 a range of football stakeholders met and founded a marketing company that would later apply for the rights to the Copa America, the world’s oldest international football competition which is usually held in South America. Having approached the concerned national football associations in countries across North and South America, the company were subsequently told to pay a bribe for the right of marketing the Copa. The young company, known as Datisa, did certainly not react shocked at the demands of the associations and was ultimately happy to pay a bribe of $110 million on top of the $352.2 million they had to part with for hosting the next four Copa America tournaments.
The bribe money was distributed amongst decision makers of the Conmebol (continental governing body for football in South America) and the Concacaf (continental governing body for football in North America) and rights were awarded as promised. To the FBI’s surprise, amongst the recipients of the bribe they found Jeffrey Webb, who had replaced the corrupt Jack Warner at Concacaf’s top, just three years ago. However, Webb did not only participate in this particular case. It is further alleged that he accepted additional bribes for the award of rights to World Cup qualifying games. In some sense Webb is talented in juggling his day job and the part-time position of chief bribe master he seems to have taken on.
Webb’s position is particularly interesting because Sepp Blatter had recently praised Webb and stated that he would be a very suitable successor to Blatter himself. To us, the surprises are rather underwhelming, as this most recent development only officially reveals some of the corruption and bad habits that had been obvious to many. There is daily talk about Blatter having to step down and the FIFA having to provide more transparency, but the truth is that one cannot expect much from this outdated and utterly corrupt organisation. Again, the only obvious solution seems to be a boycott of FIFA-related activity, going down to a level of detail, where supporters would no longer pay to see football games organised by FIFA.
Stay tuned, as everyday is a bit like Christmas at the moment.