Slowly the finger points at England over Fifa corruption

By Tony Attwood

As expected the Swiss authorities have started criminal proceedings against Sepp Blatter.  Just as expected Platini has been asked to provide information.

Here’s the statement…

“On the one hand, the OAG suspects that on 12 September 2005 Mr. Joseph Blatter has signed a contract with the Caribbean Football Union; this contract was unfavourable for Fifa. On the other hand, there is as suspicion that, in the implementation of this agreement, Joseph Blatter also violated his fiduciary duties and acted against the interest of Fifa and/or Fifa Marketing & TV AG.”

Swiss broadcasters are reported to have found the contract that shows that that Blatter sold TV rights to Jack Warner at below the market rate.

“Additionally, Mr. Joseph Blatter is suspected of a disloyal payment of 2m Swiss francs to Michel Platini, president of Union of European Football Associations (UEFA), at the expense of Fifa, which was allegedly made for work performed between January 1999 and June 2002 ; this payment was executed in February 2011.”

A disloyal payment is one that is not in the interest of the company making the payment.   Blatter has refrained from going to any country with an extradition treaty with the USA but is gradually finding the net closing in around him.

14 Fifa officials have been arrested following the change in Swiss law which we were just about the only blog to highlight at the turn of the year, which allowed all this to happen.  Untold suggested Fifa might hold future meetings in countries that were not friendly to the USA.  Fortunately for world football, unfortunately for Fifa, it turns out they either didn’t read Untold, or they didn’t take us seriously.

Blatter’s second in command, Jérôme Valcke, was recently hauled off a plane and suspended.

US department of justice’s case is that members of Fifa are involved in racketeering, money laundering and fraud.  Racketeering (not a term we use in the UK) is criminal activity performed to benefit an organization such as a crime syndicate: extortion, money laundering, loan sharking, obstruction of justice and bribery.  Which is pretty much what Untold has been saying about Fifa since we started publishing in January 2008.

13 officials have been arrested.   Three have been charged in US courtrooms and 10 are awaiting extradition.

Part of the investigation is now into the Russia 2018 and Qatar 2022 World Cups.  The investigators have seized 11 terabytes of data.  Quite a lot really.

Meanwhile, but far far less reported in the British press, there have been repeated calls on financial authorities in London to assist in following the money involved in these transactions as it moved through London banks.

In a parliamentary select committee hearing inquiry Deborah Unger of Transparency International wondered about why the Serious Fraud Office has been apparently inactive.

“They could use the follow-the-money tools that are already here. Questions do have to be asked. Has any money been spent in the UK on luxury goods and services, property for example?  It is very hard to go after people directly without knowing if the money has come through the UK. But you can start asking the questions.”

The SFO has said it would examine whether it had a role to play.  After three months of sitting on its hands it seems to have decided its hands are clean.

“The reform process needs to be top to bottom,” Ms Unger continued.  “They are circling the wagons. They don’t want that kind of reform because they don’t want the scrutiny it will bring to the past.”

Which is pretty much the Untold position.

And… and this is a key part.   Paul Farrelly, one of the MPs on the culture, media and sport select committee, said the SFO had not asked “a single question of the FA”.

We may wonder why.

Why is no one also asking the FA about its involvement in Fifa, a body to which he has persistently allied itself, bidding for tournaments, playing teams in every available tourney, never once standing up against Fifa.  Why is no one asking the SFA to look at what is happening in the UK?
Of course there have been campaigns by people who simply want to replace Fifa with their own people – many of whom have been in Fifa before but not yet arrested.  Damian Collins MP said a payment made by the Australian 2022 bid team to Jack Warner.  But Mr Collins is a member of New Fifa Now, which just wants replacement, rather than reform.  In my personal view we should not be led astray by these people.

The Swiss attorney general, Michael Lauber, has asked London and called other jurisdictions to do more to help the award of the 2018 and 2022 world cups indentifying 121 suspicious bank transactions.  This is more like it.

Mr Lauber said, “We are also looking for means to accelerate the procedure; in this context an additional challenge might be seen in the fact some of the information of interest to our criminal proceedings is under seal.  It would be helpful if parties involved would cooperate more substantially.”

The SFO said it had, “actively been assessing material in relation to this matter and has made plain it stands ready to assist continuing international criminal investigations.”

Just how deep this goes into English football we are no closer to finding out, because of a complete and absolute blackout on the issue in most of the press and on TV.

The FA has conducted itself so badly, and is in such a total financial mess, having made mass redundancies in recent months, and had its grant from Sport England stopped because of its gross incompetence, that there must be questioning of what on earth has been going on financially within the FA and whether this has anything to do with Fifa.

But where is the questioning from the UK press?

I listen, and wait, and wait, and wait.

But Untold isn’t going away.


  • 25 September 1911: Man U beat Swindon 8-4 in Charity Shield.  Gate money used to help the survivors of the Titanic.
  • 25 September 1935: Bernard Joy’s first game in a friendly.  He played throughout his career as an amateur, and played his first league game in April 1936.

The petition “Prevent Mike Dean from refereeing another Arsenal game”  needs just 400 signatures to reach 100,000.  Please sign up if you agree.  Please.


22 Replies to “Slowly the finger points at England over Fifa corruption”

  1. In 1988 Ben Johnson tested positive for steroids at the Seoul Olympics. Subsequently Canada set up a government inquiry into doping in sport.(Dubin inquiry)It was gut wrenching to see the best athletes admit abuse. All of Canada was embarrassed but later angered/disappointed when it came out a decade later that 5 of the other 7 athletes in the 100m final were also cheating.

    The English will not want to see their dirty laundry aired whether it be over the FIFA boondoggle or match fixing at home. Unlike Canada’s sprinters who only rarely top the podium, the FA will not want to upset the golden apple cart that is the Premier League nor voluntarily put its own (admittedly tawdry) reputation at risk.

  2. As far as the petition goes, don’t stop pushing at 100k. That is only halfway to 200k, or 10% to 1000k.

  3. Tony,
    The cat’s out of the bag, the evils cannot be put back into Pandora’s Box. I don’t know how long it will take but the scandal will ultimately reach England and the FA. They feel immune and protected by the amounts of money in the EPL and English football generally. For years Blatter and his lot felt they were immune. It’s only a matter of time. Thanks for keeping this issue in front of the readers (unlike the rest of the media). Your effort is not for naught.

  4. “Additionally, Mr. Joseph Blatter is suspected of a disloyal payment of 2m Swiss francs to Michel Platini, president of Union of European Football”

    That’s the nicest part, because that also incriminates mr. Platini, the deadpan successor.

  5. Fingers crossed eventually they get into the 3rd party stuff and other transfer murk. Think it was at the beginning of last season the Guardian’s David Conn did a piece, maybe two, about it including how Chelsea were, without breaching rules partial to a bit of investment.

    Scudamore ,as ever, showed an inexplicable lack of interest. Within a week, Sepp stepped forward to say Fifa were going to look into shutting it down (as he had done many years ago), and that it would be looked at further the following year.

    Fair to say, he surely had no interest in doing so. You have to think Sepp and co have gained something over the years in allowing these third party practices to go on, and in making sure investors in the 3rd party funds are allowed to remain anonymous. Oh, to get something on Mendes, Kenyon and any of their ilk!

    FBI, and whoever else is involved, which of course won’t include the FA, come on you beautiful Bebe’s

  6. Hahahah! Oh, how I am enjoying this. Gradually the storm will get to England and then ……

    (I have a feeling, Man Utd will lose some league trophies.)

  7. Burning down the house!!! The fact that Platini is involved adds to the fun 🙂

    Thanks Tony for being one of the few who have been writing about it since the start of Untold! You kept on banging on the nail and it seems that you have been right all the time. Despite the nay-sayers saying you were wrong.

    Just wait till the PGMO things come above water. Another Untold fighting point. The nay-sayers will also be proven wrong one day.

  8. Would be great to see Blatter and Platini,face justice should they be convicted of course. What a comedown for one of the greatest players on the planet in his day that would be.
    I wouldn’t expect the city of London to give up dark secrets too readily. There have been reforms since the financial crash, but I am sure a lot of dirty money makes its way the EC3 and Canary Wharf. Then, there will be at least one of the big accountancy/auditing firms…..based in London, that signed off FIFAs accounts. Where do they sit in this tawdry affair. Heard KPMG were involved… suggestion as yet they have done anything wrong, but big embarrassment all round.
    Hopefully we will be spared Platini heading up anything, let alone football.

  9. It was only a matter of time before the head honchos of FIFA were implicated in the governing body’s corruption which has tainted the beautiful game for decades.
    I wonder how long it will be before certain members of our own FA are gathered in to face justice. 😉

  10. Not long Nicky. At,the very best, they have been complcit in something pretty unpleasant to try and get the World Cup., playing the game, that sort of thing….Beckham turning up at Warners place for the cameras.I would imagine some strange donations made without due diligence….expensive handbags for the ladies..not serious on their own, but all part of something most unedifying. I would imagine some British football administrators past and present are having very disturbed nights, hoping they have done nothing especially against American law. We turn a blind eye to things the U.S. does not when it suits them, and some of the sentences they handout for financial crime and corruption.are pretty scary. Platini may well regret turning back on his initial promise to back the U.S. Supporting Qatars bid instead.
    This scandal is going to take a lot of people and associations down as the accused scramble to plea bargain.

  11. Continuing with the Bob Dylan theme, perhaps we’ll see a new Arsenal crest soon, with the cannon replaced by Wenger holding I-Ching Hexagram 62 in one hand and the sword of truth in the other, standing on the prostrated Mike Dean brass dragon, representing the PGMO, with Kroenke holding a liberty torch and Usmanov holding the Jack of Hearts, both supporting the crest from each side, and a new Motto. ‘Thunder on the Mountain’.. Wenger has mostly kept his cool and done all the little things to make this club what it is today. He has always had integrity and has kept his head whilst all those around him were losing theirs. He has ‘struggled through barbed wire and felt the hail fall from above’. He has also, more than any other character, brought football in the UK into the modern era. It’s been a slow train coming.
    ‘They say the darkest hour, is right before the dawn’…Bob Dylan, 1974.

    Meet you in the morning!

  12. Dignity is for those who deserve it not for those who demand it. Arsene Wenger Earned it. Mourinho may moan for another 20 years that Arsene Wenger did not win a trophy for 10 to 20 years, but a classless Mourinho will find it difficult to emulate what Arsene Wenger did for us. Better remember the quote “Form is temporary but class is permanent”

    It is true that Arsenal underachieved in past few years and struggled to win trophies or failed to fulfill the hopes. But let us don’t forget that, in this modern era of football, where managers jumps from one team to other season after season, this man stood loyal to us when we needed him the most. So in return we are happy to give him the time he wants.

  13. Lean, it was a Dylan Lyric as well and I am sure Batman too – I will have a look, I love Batman.

    Star Wars, Batman, Bob Dylan. There are lots of genius creative lyrics, quotes and metaphors for us to draw inspiration from. It is fun and a bit of escapism we can hopefully share whilst the ones with deep knowledge of the real situations get to grips with it all for us. I have huge respect for those on here who get us all these statistics, rule book interpretations and referee reports, etc. The rest of us supporters try to see the big picture and help keep the site and club positive. I don’t tend to comment here except when there is a defining moment or serious foul play going on that needs us all to show togetherness. I’ve been to or watched almost every game for the last 22 years, a lot but a lot less than many on here. I don’t do enough for the club. Respect to those who do, day in, day out. Here’s a great Batman quote for you. “It’s not we are underneath… but what we do that defines us…” Good luck!

  14. @Mandy

    You say Platini may regret going back on his initial promise to back the US.

    I fear that is what this is all about. The US particularly doesn’t want Russia to have the 2018 World Cup. A positive picture of Russia at a time when the US is doing its best to paint the country as an aggressor, at the same time as the US itself is bombing Iraq and Syria, having caused total mayhem in Afhganistan and Lybia – to name just the most prominent countries where it has caused untold damage – is the last thing it wants.

    So I am very wary about what is going on. Bribery and corruption surrounds all these large lucrative sporting events. I doubt if anyone is immune.

    GoingGoingGooner makes an interesting point about Ben Johnson. He is still always mentioned when people talk about drugs and athletics. What about the other athletes later to be revealed as drug users in the same race?

    Why is Marion Jones very rarely mentioned when people talk about drugs in sport, even though the revelations about her shocked the world at the time? Is it because she’s from the USA?

  15. Sally Pally: 🙂 Love it, I-Ching 62: Attention to detail.
    We could also then revert to 4-3-2-1 formation, the Tetrad of the Hermetic Code. 🙂
    Cos i’m Batman. 🙂
    It is time for all world corruption to be eroded by the awakening masses, and cleaning up football is a good start. Let’s hope that this is not just an empty gesture but a real concentrated effort to administer justice.


    The lads have to be sharp and focused today to get 3 points; Leicester City still unbeaten as of yet, so also to protect our record. 🙂

  16. Remember that our trophyless seasons were not because we didn’t play good football. There were several teams playing with 14 players!! We didn’t win because we were cheated of several victories. Trophies are nothing when you cheat. Worse than the drug cheats in Athletics. Financial manipulation of The Beautiful Game. I’m hoping for a quicker momentum because I want to see some recent authors wondering what happened to the corrupt that helped them to glory.

    I want the justice in my life & before these evil cheats die.

  17. With respect to Platini and FIFA in a BBC article:

    In a statement released through his lawyers, Blatter said a £1.5m payment made to Platini, the head of European football’s governing body, in 2011 was “valid compensation and nothing more”.

    Both men are also facing investigation by Fifa’s independent ethics committee over the payment, which Platini said was for work as Blatter’s technical advisor between 1999 and 2002.

    Platini, who was interviewed as a witness by officers from the Swiss attorney general’s office, stressed that the payment had been “fully declared” to the authorities.

    The Frenchman said he was “aware that these events may harm my image and reputation” and released a statement for “reasons of transparency”.

    Who waits 9 years to get paid for work done? Are you going to fix 9 years worth of tax records? Are you even allowed to fix tax records 9 years old?

    Sorry Platini, this stinks of FIFA corruption.

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