By Tony Attwood
I’m sorry you’ve read it all before, but somehow I feel that if I give up now, all the stuff I’ve written before will be a bit wasted.
The argument is still the same: that Uefa and Fifa are so utterly hopelessly corrupt that Football Associations around the world should withdraw, and have the decency to pause and think, rather than rush back in to another newly formed organisation.
At the moment we have a reformed Fifa that turns out to include people as corrupt as the old Fifa – which is pretty much what we predicted. At each turn they cry, “but I’ve done nothing illegal” and with each cry the FA in England and other such bodies should take a further step away.
Because there is such a thing as guilty by association. We all know how awful Fifa is and yet the FA throw money at it, and thus throw money away at corrupt enterprises and corrupt people in attempts to climb up its greasy pole and be ever more corrupt themselves.
Gianni Infantino was implicated through some of the Panama Papers (and remember we haven’t seen 1% of the papers yet). Uefa was raided by Swiss police on Wednesday. Details of a contract signed by Infantino related to a company owned by Hugo Jinkis, who was indicted in USA in May as part of a £100 million fraud, have now emerged. Infantino says he has done nothing wrong.
Uefa said it had no dealings with this company. And we’d never have known they lied, but for these papers. It just shows the value of what the journalists’ consortium has done.
Basically when Infantino was director of legal services at Uefa, Uefa sold the rights for broadcasting to South America to Cross Trading which immediately sold the rights on to Teleamazonas for 350% more than it paid. Uefa also signed a European Championship hospitality sales agreement with Traffic Sports Europe, a firm cited repeatedly by the US attorneys.
Uefa said, “Naturally, Uefa is providing the Federal Police with all relevant documents in our possession and will cooperate fully.” Except that is what they didn’t do last time around.
Infantino said: “If my determination to restore football’s reputation was already very strong, it is now even stronger. I welcome any investigation conducted into this matter.”
So now, thanks to the Panama Papers, we know that one of the members of the Fifa ethics committee had long professional links to a former Fifa exec who has been indicted. Juan Pedro Damiani, who has just resigned from the ethics committee, had links with Eugenio Figueredo, a former senior Fifa vice-president accused of corruption. Damiani set up several offshore companies for Figueredo who was then named as a person involved in bribes.
A spokesman for Damiani said he had told the ethics committee about his links with Figueredo in 2014.
When questions were asked about whether Infantino had been involved in any of this Uefa said no.
And still Arsenal and the rest of the Champions League and Europa clubs are trading with Uefa. Still the FA trades with Fifa.
Infantino said he would not accept that his integrity is being doubted by certain areas of the media, especially given that Uefa has already disclosed in detail all facts regarding these contracts.
What we now know is that football is run with cash that meanders through Panama and other very dubious places.
What we don’t know, but most certainly will do in time is how many more players there are like Messi who are hiding money here there and everywhere, and I will stick my neck out and say that there are several owners of Premier League football clubs, who are engaging in some of the most dubious financial and manipulative activities you can imagine.
I might even come back and quote this page when the next array of evidence hops out.
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