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How Fifa corruption is continuing, and how we can help bring it down.

By Tony Attwood

With Fifa having effectively having wound up its entire ethics committee, and all procedures for ensuring that the organisation is reformed and corruption removed,  the remaining “ethics” cartel is left running the show.  They are being paid salaries of between $300,000 and $450,000 for attending four meetings a year – and meanwhile the corruption continues.

The first Asian soccer official to be convicted in the Fifa scandal, was indeed a member of the committee that oversaw their ethics compliance.  He has now told a U.S. judge that he accepted about $1 million in bribes, including $100,000 from the former president of the Asian Football Confederation, according to a report from Bloomberg.

Guam Football Association President Richard Lai, reported two other members of the Asia Executive Committee of Fifa and two other Asian soccer officials during his guilty plea last week.

Lai’s report is interesting in that it stated that rival factions within Fifa and the individual regional governing bodies tried to gain his vote in the election for Fifa president and that he accepted illegal payments from both sides. Lai could face twenty years in prison after admitting to two counts of fraud.

Also implicated was the Qatari president of the Asian Federation.  While Lai didn’t name Mohammed bin Hammam in court, he made it clear that he accepted $100,000 “from the head of Asian Football Conference at the time,” whom he said was later “banned for life from football.” Hammam was indeed banned after he resigned in 2011.

According to the Bloomberg report, “Lai said the AFC president approached him in January 2011 with an offer to pay him as a consultant for a construction business while also soliciting his support in a run for the FIFA presidency. Lai said he never did any work for the money, which was transferred from an account in Qatar.

“Lai said he received more than $850,000 in bribes from November 2009 to late 2014 to advance the interests of an opposing faction in Asian football and identify others with influence in FIFA who might be open to receiving bribes. He traced traced that relationship to a conference in Malaysia where he said the president of the Kuwait Football Association and an intermediary approached him seeking help to limit the influence of the AFC president.”

The report also makes the case that the description of one of the co-conspirators matches Kuwait’s Sheikh Ahmad Al Fahd Al Sabah, whom they describe as a “sports powerbroker who sits on FIFA’s executive board.”

And just to show how far the influence of these people extends we might also note that Sheikh Ahmad Al Fahd Al Sabah is also a member of the International Olympic Committee and backed the committee’s president for election in 2013.

In response the  Olympic Council of Asia stated that “Sheikh Ahmad is very surprised by such allegations and strongly denies any wrongdoing.  He will vigorously defend his integrity and reputation and that of any organization that he represents in any relevant legal review.”

Particularly interesting in the Lai case is the fact that he said later, “A high-ranking FIFA officer met with me and thanked me for my work on the audit.   That FIFA officer then rewarded me for those efforts by having me appointed to be the FIFA audit and compliance committee.”

In response the acting U.S. Attorney Bridget Rohde in Brooklyn said, “The defendant abused the trust placed in him as a soccer official in order to line his own pockets.   The defendant’s breach of trust was particularly significant given his position as a member of the FIFA Audit and Compliance committee, which must play an important and independent role if corruption within FIFA is to be eliminated.”

Sadly Hammam couldn’t be immediately located for comment and the U.S. attorney’s office was unable to identify his lawyer.

10 comments to How Fifa corruption is continuing, and how we can help bring it down.

  • Norman14

    Given the amount of money they get from football, I’m surprised that there are no major gambling organisations among the list of major sponsors.

    Unless, of course, the ones that are most able to facilitate money laundering on behalf of corrupt sporting organisations are themselves corrupt, and more likely, illegal.

    The fact that our own government is no longer answering questions relating to the administration of the FA suggests that this has become a “too hard basket” investigation, best left to others.

    Which others, is yet to be revealed, but certainly, it is not the UK mainstream media, who follow the FA and FIFA like sheep.

  • Norman14

    Greg Clarke has accused FIFA of “demonising” the transfer of Paul Pogba to Manchester United, by seeking investigations into the details. This comes after it was revealed that agent Mino Raiola earned a massive £41m from the transfer.

    Clarke said that these actions threaten the transparency that FIFA wants to achieve.

    So here is Greg Clarke, promoting transparency on one hand, but refusing to impose it on the other. If he is so committed to transparency, then he needs to enforce it onto his puppet, PGMOL, the least transparent sporting organisation ever!

    Once again it is proven that the FA speaks with fork tongue!

  • Gord

    A long blurb follows, with multiple URLs in it. It seems that the term ‘FIFA 11+’ is a useful search term to allow coaches to find material such as “optimal” warmups for football players so as to minimize injuries in play.

  • Gord

    This link

    _ http://www.fifa.com/development/medical/

    is supposed to contain a direct link to FIFA 11+ according to Google. But, what we find instead is that we need to follow this link

    _ http://www.fifa.com/development/medical/about-us/who-we-are.html

    to find out that FIFA-MARC has a program such as outlined to reduce injuries through more effective warm-ups. Point 1 at the end of the page.

    That first FIFA page, has a pointer to FIFA Medical documents, but that is just an anchor midway through a long page of FIFA documents. None of which are the specific one I am looking for, but many of which may be of interest to coaches.

    _ http://www.fifa.com/about-fifa/official-documents/development/index.html

    I’ve stripped off the ‘#medical’ anchor part of the URL.

    Back to Google, we see the next hit is a review in the British Medical Journal on this FIFA 11+ program.

    _ http://bjsm.bmj.com/content/49/9/577

    I believe that review is available free of charge. Many references of that article are also listed as freely available.

    Next up, is a link at PubMed of the National Institutes of Health on implementing FIFA 11+. Flagged as freely available.

    _ https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23813485

    On the right hand side of the screen, are some similar articles, most of which are reviews. This one isn’t

    _ https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23848519
    _ Soccer-specific warm-up and lower extremity injury rates in collegiate male soccer players.

    This is also flagged as freely available.

    One of the links at that page, points to what seems to not be freely available:

    _ https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/28389864
    _ Does the FIFA 11+ Injury Prevention Program Reduce the Incidence of ACL Injury in Male Soccer Players?

    In any event, I think this should get a few people on Untold who are involved with coaching, on to some better articles.

  • Gord

    The long list of URLs was posted, and is sitting in moderation.

  • Gord any post with URLs in it is held in moderation, because every day we receive about 100 spam posts that have links in them.

  • WalterBroeckx

    I shall write to Hyundai to warn them that I won’t buy from them again despite my current car being the best car I have ever bought.

  • Gord

    Tony, yes I knew it was going to be held. But it didn’t make sense to not post all these URLs together.

    ———————

    More Number Games

    The season is almost over and most teams have played 37 games. Add in the 2 previous seasons of “the pack” of 38 games each. That allows me to calculate winning, drawing and losing fractions over a much larger span of games.

    Last season had the Leicester anomaly, where they finished first. We also had Chelsea and Liverpool finishing 10th and 8th.

    I decided not to use any years prior to 2014/15, because it is possible that the spuds joined the “top” in that season.

    And because I could, run the thing for 100,000,000 trials (up a factor of 10 from last time).

    One question is, can the winning/drawing/losing fractions explain a low ranked team getting 81 points in a season?

    I suppose another question is, just how poorly could some “pack” team do?

    I changed the program, so that the number of points any given combination totalled, didn’t require being present in the EPL data. So, after 100 million trials, we seen almost 6.5 million data sets that were allowable. And it took a while (a few hours).

    The counter with the highest number of hits, was for 11 wins/9 draws/18 losses at 95504.

    Seasons with no wins did occur, with 9, 11, 13, 14, 15 and 16 draws. The number of hits was either 1 or 2. The lowest point total seen was 7 points, a season of 1 win and 4 draws (count again was 1). There are some games at 1 win, and 10-14 draws that have hits in the 10-20 range. 2015/16 saw Aston Villa relegated with 17 points (3 wins), and the combinations involving 3 wins/8 draws I observe in this data set have counts of about 200.

    On to Leicester. The peak in the 23 win category comes with 5 or 6 draws, not Leicester’s 12 (40 counts). The highest observed combination involving 23 wins, was with 11 draws (1 count).

    Being relegated with less than 20 points has not happened very often in the EPL. For a “pack” team to win the EPL with 23 wins and 11 draws is about 100 times less likely than to get relegated for less than 20 points. This number 100 is not firm, it is probably 100 in that it is probably more than 10 and probably less than 1000.

    For circumstances similar to being relegated for 17 points (or less), a better “maximum” number of games won is probably about 21 wins, that peak coming with 5 or 6 draws for 68 or 69 points.

  • Menace

    I am currently stuck with Visa – the rest I am out off. All coca products included.

  • Gord

    Let’s trying wording that Leicester situation again.

    But first a diversion. For most people, a run of wins, a run of draws and a run of losses are the same. A contiguous (partial) set of results of the same quality. But they are not the same.

    A run of wins is a fragile beast. It depends on the continuing “good luck” of 19 people (11 starters, 7 substitutes and 1 manager). A big enough change for any one of them, can end the run. It could be as simple as one player getting stepped on in the game, and losing a toenail many days later as a result. There is nothing within a team playing fairly, which can keep a run of wins going “forever”.

    A run of losses is much more robust. It can feed on itself, as it can depend on a low level of confidence/esteem, which feeds back onto itself with further losses. A run of losses can take a team out of “the pack” to a place onto itself.

    The EPL has seen relegated teams have low points totals.
    _1992/93(22): 44, 40
    _1993/94(22): 40, 30
    _1994/95(22): 29, 27
    _1995/96(20): 33, 29
    _1996/97(20): 39*, 34 (Middlesbrough docked 3 points)
    _1997/98(20): 35, 33
    _1998/99(20): 35, 30
    _1999/00(20): 31, 24
    _2000/01(20): 34, 26
    _2001/02(20): 30, 28
    _2002/03(20): 26, 19 —
    _2003/04(20): 33, 33
    _2004/05(20): 33, 32
    _2005/06(20): 30, 15 —
    _2006/07(20): 34, 28
    _2007/08(20): 35, 11 —
    _2008/09(20): 32, 32
    _2009/10(20): 30, 19* Portsmouth docked points —
    _2010/11(20): 39, 33
    _2011/12(20): 31, 25
    _2012/13(20): 28, 25
    _2013/14(20): 32, 30
    _2014/15(20): 33, 30
    _2015/16(20): 34, 17 —
    _2016/17(20): 28, 24 (1 game remaining)

    I’ve indicated 5 times in 24 seasons, where the bottom team had less than 20 points (19, 19, 17, 15, 11). That worst one (2007/08 – 11 points, 1, 8, 29) is seen in my run, with a count of 3.

    The 2 occurrences of 19 (2002/03, 2009/10) are for 4/7/27 and 7/7/24 (with points dockage, hence won’t be considered). The 4/7/27 combination is relatively common, coming up 467 times in my run. The commonality is shown by sub 20 finishes happening 5 times in 24 seasons. That one of these is as poor as 11 points, is unusual.

    For a “pack” team to get 23 wins, is not that unusual. My run shows a peak of about 40 counts for 5 or 6 draws (for 74 or 75 points). Which means observing a “pack” team getting 23 wins over a season is about 1/10 as likely as seeing a EPL team finish in 20th with less than 20 points. Something on the order of 5 times in 240 seasons (or once in 48 seasons).

    My run did not observe 23 wins, 12 draws. The closest was a single occurrence of 23 wins and 11 draws. Close. Much lower chance of it happening. Is it once in 1920 seasons? We don’t have enough data to say something like that.

    It seems unlikely that season happened all by itself. Twenty three wins isn’t that unusual, 12 draws with 23 wins is. Twelve draws isn’t that unusual, with 23 wins for a pack team is. In any event, in some fraction of 35 games played by Leicester last season, they somehow got more goals than is expected. Goals to either tie the game up, or to take the lead.

    Another approach might be to look at how many times a pack team loses as few as 3 games in a season. In my run of 100 million trials, that didn’t occur once.

    This is not a simple problem to explore, because the results obtained by any “pack” team is influenced by the Top-6 (or so). The Top-6 suck up some fraction (between 1/3 and 1/2) of the wins available as well as some fraction of the draws available, leaving the pack to fight over what is left.

    As always, there is the problem of demonstrating that any particular result (game) shows assistance of some kind. I don’t think it is impossible that Leicester obtained their title fair means, but I think it is more likely that it was given assistance. I’ve no idea if that assistance was asked for, or it was given without being asked for. It doesn’t matter. Either circumstance points to the likelihood of corruption and/or incompetence.

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