By Walter Broeckx
Another lovely page seems to be written in the lovely way of perfect live as it is according to Fifa.
A few days ago claims have been made about Australia’s team bidding to host the 2018 or 2022 World Cup. They seem to have been given some gifts to try and influence votes. It was said that the Football Federation of Australia had been given jewellery to the wives of Fifa executive committee members. And also that Australia had paid for the Trinidad and Tobago Under-20 team to fly to Cyprus. The FFA paid the trip for a training camp in 2009 before the world cup where the Australian team and the Trinidad and Tobago team joined each other in the training camp and the Australians paid the bill. Well it didn’t help both teams when it came to football as both ended last in their group.
But it will have been a coincidence that Trinidad and Tobago is the home association of Fifa vice-president Jack Warner. Warner who has a string of allegations behind him in regards to all sorts of corruption is the head of Concacaf, the North American and Caribbean football association, and has a lot of influence when it comes to the voting on which country will have the world cup in 2018 and 2022. The Concacaf holds 3 of the 24 votes in this matter.
The claims were that the Football Federation of Australia had given necklaces to the wives of Fifa executive committee members. And it is this executive committee members which votes and decide which country should host the next world cups.
In the Fifa rules it is written that it is forbidden to give valuable gifts to people who are connected with the voting process to ensure impartiality. But as all “good” laws there is some room for a grey area as it is allowed to give gifts which have a symbolic or incidental value.
FFA chairman Ben Buckley denied the claims and said that the jewellery was handed out at a dinner and is completely above board. He said, “ it is a widely accepted common practice among governments, many business and sporting organisations to provide symbolic gifts, to visiting international delegations.”
So FFA says that the necklaces are symbolic gifts. Why didn’t they tell the world that the necklaces had not value at all. Maybe they were made from plastic?
A problem is that in Australia there is a Bribery Act which strictly says that it is illegal to spend Australian government money on bribes, gifts, holidays, and so on. And as the FFA is using money from the Australian government for the bidding process, they have to consider the Bribery Act and have broken at least the Australian laws. This is a matter for the internal justice of Australia but one could wonder how the Australian tax payer likes it that his money is spent on necklaces given to already wealthy people just to allow them to make even more money.
Not only is there a problem with the laws but one could also ask the questions to the moral standards. That money from the government could have been used for other things. And maybe in the total budget of Australia it isn’t much but for poorer countries who want to host a world cup it can be a big difference for the population.
But let us stick to Fifa as they have announced that after a very short and thorough investigation (this last bit was in sarcastic mode), they found nothing wrong. What a surprise. Fifa have told the FFA that no rules have been broken. Also the fact that the FFA have offered a few millions to some football federations in Africa, Oceania and Asia was no problem for Fifa. I think Fifa will qualify them also as symbolic gifts. “Paying money to other organisations”, I don’t know how this sounds to you but if this doesn’t sound like bribery then nothing is bribery any more.
To me the fact that Fifa sees nothing wrong in what the Australian have done shows once again that Fifa is a rotten organisation. And it also poses questions on the other bidding countries. What have they done and have been given that we don’t know? Fifa doesn’t mind that you try to bribe their members as long as they can tell it was a symbolic or incidental gift it is fine for them.
So Fifa is not only an organisation which takes over the justice department in the country where they organise a world cup. It can decide single handedly if people should be put in jail or not. No it is also an organisation which allows bribery, as long as it is symbolic and incidental, and as the judge said in court it is an organisation which tells lies, lies and even more lies.
So yes I always believe the bunch of lie-telling people from Fifa when they tell the world that nothing was wrong with the way the FFA was acting. (just to be sure – this part was also in very, very sarcastic mode)
I really hope that some investigative journalist in Belgium or Holland finds something that throws Belgium and Holland out of the bidding race. Even if the gifts were only cheese, chocolate or Belgian beer. I don’t mind what, but please anything that keeps Fifa and their corrupt members out of my country is welcome.
Could you imagine Fifa letting the player pose before the game with the slogan: “Say NO to corruption”. And I think they even would have the guts to do it as well. After all, all is perfect in Fifa’s world.
Meanwhile back in the utterly perfect world of Untold Arsenal
And outside in the distance a wild cat did growl
Two riders were approaching, the wind began to howl
Look if you don’t know your history of popular culture I’m not playing any more.
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