By Tony Attwood
You might have expected the British media to have learned its lessons when it was caught out over the first round of American/Swiss arrests of Fifa executives.
They covered the arrests of course, and allowed members of the FA and government to express horror and shock. But they never once posed the question, “But surely, with this level of corruption going on, if you had been doing your job properly, you must have known something with amiss. And yet you kept on ploughing vast amounts of tax payers money into Fifa and Uefa via the FA. Why was that?”
I think that is a good question, as it the question, “why has no one been asking the media why they absolutely refuse to ask this question?”
However given that this simple point was never raised, the FA and its friends have continued to spend huge sums courting Fifa and Uefa, and entering teams into their competitions, knowing that they do so with utter impunity.
The media is not doing its job, but instead buying into the jollity of each international competition without the slightest mention of fraud, corruption, theft and guilt. Maybe they argue that “the public doesn’t want to know,” or maybe they just like the free trips around the world and the lavish receptions that are thrown for journalists.
And yet revelations continue to pour into my email account – and yet here I am running one independent blog. OK it is a blog that gets six million page views a year, and quite a few people like the fact that we try and do a bit of campaigning, but even so. Surely the same tip offs are reaching all the national media in the UK – and yet they won’t run the story. It says something… although I leave it up to you to decide what.
Here is one that reached me this week.
We know that there is a new scandal concerning the way Blatter and others increased their own salaries and “bonuses” after each world cup. But the data I have seen and which is being circulated in the Swiss press, shows that after the US indictment Blatter and his cronies were still handing themselves contract amendments to protect themselves should they be rumbled by the authorities – which they had just been.
So, to make this clear… the US officials, in liaison with Swiss authorities (acting because as Untold pointed out way before the event, they could now act following a change in Swiss law the previous year) went marching in and started arresting people.
Then after that event Blatter and others arranged to change their contracts so that if they should be arrested by the authorities and charged with corruption, Fifa would still have to pay their salaries. A pretty nifty piece of footwork.
Sources close to both Kattner and Scala have revealed that the leaking of information about the bonus payments to Blatter, Valcke and Kattner which were given for no particular reason other than they wanted yet more money, was deliberately timed to create a smokescreen and take the heat off Infantino.
‘The lawyers will have known about this for several months,’ said one source. ‘The timing is questionable to say the least.’
Kattner aides insist there were no ‘secret’ payments and that however obscene the sums might appear, they were permitted under FIFA’s own compensation policy and broke no rules.
In other words the awarding of bonuses to each other without any referral to others within Fifa was within the constitution of Fifa. And you know, that is probably correct!
Now here is some more. From the sources that I have, I’m told that at the 66th Fifa Congress in Mexico on 12/13 May, Infantino refused to accept the designated salary of 2 million Euros a year, and asked for double that, plus a villa worth 25 million Swiss Francs (over £3.5 million) which should be purchased by FIFA for him.
Meanwhile Infantino has also rejected the suggestion that the Fifa Council influences the ethics committee investigations adding, “Domenico Scala is mistaken in his analysis. He thinks that football can be managed with the same principles as a pharmaceutical company or pesticides’ manufacturer. This a major error of assessment, because it underestimates the passion of football as well as its geopolitical dimension.”
OK – an interesting point. But where is the proof? And come to that where is the famous investigative journalism that supposedly hounded Blatter and finally nailed him? And if the complexities of Fifa committees is a bit much for UK journalists, what about bringing in a previously little-known friend and neighbour from his local village of Trelex, Luca Piazza, to work in the president’s office? Fifa appear to have confirmed the appointment.
Here’s another one: just before he was dismissed Kattner was thrown out of Infantino’s office for questioning his expenses and his use of a private jet between Moscow and Qatar during a visit to 2018 and 2022 World Cup officials.
Kattner was then banned from attending the Council meeting in Mexico City where Scala’s removal was discussed. Kattner is said to be instituting legal action.
So there we are – that’s what Untold has got. Of course it could be a load of tittle tattle, although Swiss media tends to be less prone to that than the British press. It will be interesting to see what the British media claim, when they next feel it is appropriate to let the British public know about the organisation the state-funded FA is dallying with.
- What we learned: Leicester can’t do sums, Vardy is getting a bit too big for his boots
- José Mourinho walks free from court as Chelsea apologise “unreservedly”
- Does having top league scorer help you win the league? Here’s the stats…
Untold Arsenal has published five books on Arsenal – all are available as paperback and three are now available on Kindle. The books are
- The Arsenal Yankee by Danny Karbassiyoon with a foreword by Arsene Wenger.
- Arsenal: the long sleep 1953 – 1970; a view from the terrace. By John Sowman with an introduction by Bob Wilson.
- Woolwich Arsenal: The club that changed football. By Tony Attwood, Andy Kelly and Mark Andrews.
- Making the Arsenal: a novel by Tony Attwood.
- The Crowd at Woolwich Arsenal by Mark Andrews.
You can find details of all five on our new Arsenal Books page