The serious fraud office takes on Fifa; FA clearly knew it was engaging in fraudulent bid

by Tony Attwood

The Serious Fraud Office is an independent UK Government department that investigates and prosecutes serious or complex fraud, and corruption.

And at long, long, long last it has announced that it is investigating money-laundering offences involving the bidding for the 2018 (Russia) and 2022 (Qatar) World Cups.   It has announced this just as the moment that Sepp Blatter has claimed there was an agreement in place to award the tournaments to Russia in advance of the vote and another one for the 2022 which was changed as voting approached.

Which looks rather bad.  But the FA has made matters far, far worse by admitting that it knew there was fraud going on during the bidding process.  And indeed they could have hardly claimed otherwise.  After all Andrew Jennings book, “FOUL! The Secret World of FIFA: Bribes, Vote Rigging and Ticket Scandals,” was published in 2006.  Who couldn’t have known.

This makes the FA and all who worked on the bid themselves guilty of fraud, for it is fraud to engage in what you know to be a fraudulent process, and bidding in a fixed competition is engaging in a fraudulent process.  (Of course it is also utterly dumb, but there’s no surprise there).

England, utterly ludicrously, spent millions of pounds bidding for the right to host the tournament, and got two votes, one of which was from… England.  It made England the laughing stock of football and the FA Chairman responded by saying he would not bid again while Blatter was in the presidency – as if that was somehow an adequate response.

However there can be no doubt that Dyke knew the voting was rigged – indeed the Observer’s “Said and Done” column was endlessly running stories about Fifa corruption up to the moment of the bids.  Indeed that column goes back to at least 2005 (and possibly earlier, I am not sure when it started).

In an attempt to deflect attention Dyke said the FA would now investigate the possibility of recovering the £21m spent on the failed bid.   But the SFO, now investigating the bidding process and money that flowed through the UK, can now turn its attention to Dyke and his cronies who lavished gifts on Fifa voting delegates and had endless jollies in the name of the bid.

Blatter, of course himself a far from credible witness, said, “Everything was good until the moment when Sarkozy came in a meeting with the crown prince of Qatar, who is now the ruler of Qatar. And at a lunch afterwards with Mr Platini he said it would be good to go to Qatar. And this has changed all pattern…

“Four votes from Europe went away from the USA and so the result was 14 to eight. If you put the four votes, it would have been 12 to 10. If the USA was given the World Cup, we would only speak about the wonderful World Cup 2018 in Russia and we would not speak about any problems at Fifa.”

Blatter also said, “Fifa is working well. Since I became president of Fifa, we have made Fifa big commercial company. And this naturally provokes envy and jealousy.”

Meanwhile Greg Dyke, has given evidence to the culture, media and sport committee saying “We will look in detail at what Mr Blatter says. I suspect the response will be ‘I was misquoted’, but if he says that then I think there is something to investigate.

“There’s nothing Mr Blatter says that surprises me much. If he is saying ‘we wanted Russia’ and it looks like he wanted that fixed before the vote, it’s suggesting that it was all fixed anyway…

“We will obviously go back and look at it. I think it would be a good idea. But get the bid costs back from whom? From Fifa? I agree it would be very nice to get taxpayers’ money back.”   My view is that the UK government should get its money back from the FA.

But meanwhile the attack on the truly incompetent Football Association has taken another turn as they will now be fully investigated over anti-discrimination cases – including that against Dr Eva Carneiro.  Two FA council members made a complaint against the chair of the FA’s IAB Heather Rabbatts after she had raised concerns about the way the Dr Carneiro case has been handled.

Shall we get that right?   The FA behave bizarrely over the Dr Carneiro case, the chair of the FAs Inclusion Advisory Board raises concerns and the FA’s response is to make a complaint against the chair of the IAB.  You couldn’t make it up.

Now other members of the IAB have written to Greg Dyke and the FA council saying, “The FA Inclusion Advisory Board members have expressed deep concerns about a number of recent anti-discrimination cases. To this end, we are looking forward to meeting with Martin Glenn and Darren Bailey to discuss these issues in more depth and in the hope that we can continue to support the FA and its values to see inclusion and diversity developed across the game. In the meantime, we wish to express our unwavering support for Heather Rabbatts and further, to seek reassurance that she still has the full support of the FA board.

“We were concerned to see two members of the FA Council question Heather’s integrity this week with an FA enquiry now under way. Their seeming priorities surely serve only to distract from the real issues at stake within football such as fairness, equality and respect.”

In the case in question Mourinho was cleared of making discriminatory comments towards Dr Carneiro, and the FA utterly refused to bring any charges against any individual or any club after Dr Carneiro suffered sexist abuse from fans.   Since the FA is supposedly as strongly against sexual abuse as it is against racial abuse, this is a bizarre and outrageous affair.

If the investigation into Heather Rabbatts goes ahead and she is found guilty she could be removed from the FA.  Which would confirm what we know about the FA.

If the UK government had any real sense of what was going on it would now wind up the FA.  This would mean it would be thrown out of Fifa (although if Fifa failed to do this it could resign) and Uefa, and could then invite other countries to take the same stand.  Ideally I would like them all to pull out of international tournaments of any kind, but if they really, really must carry on with this insanity they could at least set up a totally new set of international bodies and change the rules about being above the rules and laws the rest of us obey.  That rule – making the international bodies akin to countries – is surely the greatest insult of all.


  • 29 October 2008: Arsenal 4 Tottenham 4.  Bentley scored against his old club – perhaps the highpoint of his career.  Silvestre, Gallas, Adebayor, van Persie scored the goals for Arsenal.
  • 29 October 2011.  Chelsea 3 Arsenal 5.  Van Persie scored three, to make it three wins in a row for Arsenal in a run that continues for eight games until 10 December.

Untold Arsenal

22 Replies to “The serious fraud office takes on Fifa; FA clearly knew it was engaging in fraudulent bid”

  1. Nothing new really. A decision is taken by a few and then lip service is paid to the so called democratic process. Provided due diligence and “proper consultation” takes place then its legal..until proven otherwise. Local authorities in UK take this approach with local councillors having tremendous power.

  2. Its not totally dumb for the FA to continue the bidding in full knowledge that there was fraud occurring. After all, the expensive ride would also have been fun for them. Squandering money on lavish events and travel. I am sure the members of the FA involved has a great time.

  3. Where theres smoke theres fire Tony, and whilst there would be nothing more satisfying for many of us here on Untold then to see this inbred-fraud completely extracted from the sport and its management all punished accordingly as well their assets ceased (as would be done with any other criminal who has gathered wealth through their illegal activities).

    But I fear that the serious fraud office will be gently guided (in one way $$ or another) away from taking ‘destructive’ action!

  4. “Foul” is the book in which Andrew Jennings exposed some of the illegal practices being carried out by FIFA. However, there is also an e-book by the same author, “Omertà: Sepp Blatter’s FIFA Organised Crime Family”, which reveals even more amazing stuff, if not least the fact that Mr Jennings is alive and well (despite threats to the contrary).

    What this means is that the evidence that was produced in “Foul”, and went up to 2005, is further enhanced by the new charges in “Omerta” which was published in April, 2014.

    The very fact that Andrew Jennings is British, should have rang alarm bells at the FA – if not just before the 2006 World Cup, then certainly in the lead up to 2014, and aftermath of 2010.

    Perhaps this is the opportunity, for evidence to be handed to the SFO, regarding our views on both the FA and more pointedly, PGMOL.

    At least it has to worth investigation!

  5. When England failed in its obscene bid to host the 2022 World Cup, the FA Chairman is alleged to have said that he would not bid again while Blatter was President of FIFA.
    Talk about a pot calling a kettle black.
    By committing the FA to certain future non-action, the Chairman admitted to the existence of a dictatorship at the head in both types of governance.
    Both Dyke and Blatter should study the definitions of “Association” and “Federation” in the nearest dictionary.

  6. I dream of the day that Fifa and Uefa are completely removed from the surface of the earth. A bit like the dinosaurs..
    But the problem is that they will not do this themselves. Most FA from most countries are sick in the same bed. So the problem is that they are also not fit to start something new.

    I think inly outside people can be given the moral authority to start something new. People who love football, the sport not football the business.

    But alas…. I fear it will be a dream, only a dream….

  7. “People need to see that report so that people can see whether there is smoke or fire,” Goldsmith on Michael Garcia’s report!!

    Too many people have power to cover up – thats the problem.

  8. Well done Tony, and welcome back. Hope you’re coming back with fully recharged batteries, because there is so much you need to take on with your team. This article clearly confirms that your dial is on full. So, go get ’em !

    Am seeing a huge snowball rolling downhill fast catching up with these people. Their best efforts at postponing the day of reckoning will eventually come to nothing. Their day will come, Tony. You just keep doing what you do best. Your huge hammer and chisel seem small compared to the huge mountain of dross built over many years. But you are making an impact and UA will still turn out to be their Nemesis.

  9. Waoh! For those of us in the so called third world countries where nothing seem to work and, who are constantly being painted with the tarred brush of corruption, it is good to see the search light beamed at the ”impeccable” organisations such as the the English FA and almighty FIFA. How sad! And to think that we look up to you guys. What a huge joke. African FAs, look to thine own house before you turn out like the British FA and FIFA.

  10. I think it is sad that the FA had their investigation into the DR. Carnerio case, but never spoke with Dr. Carnerio. That to me shows them favouring Moaninho and paying lip service to their supposedly gender equality concept. It also gives you a clear indication of what is important to the FA. Changing for the better is not part of their plan.

  11. Whatever the outcome. The FA should be made to pay back to the government the 2 1/2 millon of tax payers money it was given.

    It could be that the government knew there was corruption in place and yet gave away tax payers money to the FA. In which case the government of the day should be brought to court.

  12. Are you sure it was Dyke who was FA chairman at the time of our bid? I always thought it was Lord ( David ) Triesman. It was wasn’t it?

  13. Hmm, this is certainly a big food for big thought. Let all and sundry wait to see what will finally happened as revelations are continuing to emerged on the present Fifa’s hierarchy corruption scandal. I think Mr Blatter has said at one time that, he will make some incriminating revealing after leaving office. But he has appeared not to wait anymore before doing that ahead of his likely final departure from office as Fifa President. And may continue to make those damaging revelations unless Michel Platini stepped down from his bid to become the next Fifa President. In as much as it is good for transparency and anti corruption campaign, Mr Blatter has accused Mr Platini of been the brain behind the current problem at Fifa because of his insatiable urge to become the next Fifa President. Has Mr Platini thought he has finally got Mr Blatter for goods without first checking if there could be a loose end to his coup plan that he should tighten up before caring out his overthrowing of Mr Blatter from office, which has now turned out to be a huge scandal across the football World? Have the English FA knew the 2022 World Cup bidding was fixed? Yes and No, they might have known or got the hint. Maybe they were thinking they can overturn the fixing should there be any. And it could be both Mr Blatter and Mr Platini had assured them of their total support to get the hosting right for the 2022 World Cup. But only to be betrayed by them when the official bidding process was taking place. Did the English FA bought any executive members votes as Germany were allegedly to have done to secured to hosting right for the 2006 tournament? I don’t think they gave money to buy votes to host the 2022 event. But save the alleged gifts of maybe the gift of costly watches and the cost of entertainment in entertaining their Fifa host. To entertain is not bad. These thoughts are my layman thinking. Mr Blatter has not totally given up on some sort of underground control in Fifa after leaving office, has he? Does he still wants to have some strong influence at Fifa after leaving office? My fears now is, let him not negatively influenced the kind of good reforms we dearly wanted to see take place at Fifa. And thereby jeopardized the essence of the reforms. Does Mr Blatter still have some backing in Caf and other confederations to influenced who will be chosen as the next Fifa President of Fifa in the February 2016 Fifa Presidential election? Hmm.

  14. @Serge,
    Thanks for that.
    The principle remains of course, even though the individual has changed.
    Far too much power in the hands of the head honcho at the FA, UEFA and FIFA.

  15. Further reading shows that Lord Coe, on his elevation to the FIFA Ethics Committee, stated that he would not investigate anything or anybody that happened prior to his starting the job.

    Who gave him that job?

    Sepp Blatter

  16. Ha, I was wondering why the USA got involved and kicked this whole thing off last Summer. There was I thinking it was only down to Cold War II, but no, it was just football and politics sharing in their corruption.
    The USA would’ve been a much better World Cup than Qatar. It’ll be interesting to see how much of what Blather said is true, and what Sarkozy has to say about all this (what a cameo, by the way. Can they make a sequel to the FIFA movie now?). Sepp must have had an extra strong coffee that morning (or maybe a vile of vodka perhaps?) to start dropping names like that. If he’s that willing to do so, I imagine all world cups since Blatter’s appointment were done this way as the notion of ‘convincing’ people how to vote has clearly been normalised in his mind.
    Excellent article.

  17. IMAGINE –
    ” Our society is run by insane people for insane objectives. I think that we’re run by maniacs for maniacal ends , and I think that I’m liable to be put away as insane for expressing that . That’s what’s insane about it.”
    John Lennon.

  18. Brickfields Gunners:

    They are not insane, just unbelievablycorrupt!

    It’s interesting to see Septic blathering stuff that he poo pooed when Andrew Jennings published it!

  19. If I remember rightly, Lord Treisman was overseeing the English bid, but was removed from his duties when he said the process was corrupt and was then mocked by the British media and accused by them and the FA of ruining our chances of a successful bid

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