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The Fifa / PSG / Swiss corruption cases are major news in Europe. But not in the UK. Why?

By Tony Attwood

You won’t read about it in the British press, but there is a court case going on involving a villa in Sardinia valued at 5 million euros which was offered by Nasser al-Khelaïfi, the president of PSG to Jérôme Valcke the former secretary of Fifa who was fired on 13 January 2016 as a result of allegations arising from the ongoing 2015 FIFA corruption case relating to transmission rights for the 2026 and 2030 World Cups.

The case is getting technical, and I won’t bore you with the legal proceedings but specifically involved are the allocation by FIFA of the rights to the BeIN Media Group also owned by Nasser al-Khelaïfi.  Portrayed in the English media all this week as the good guy (which of course he may be – Untold doesn’t have inside information, we just report what the European papers are saying – issues that the English media studiously ignores).

It is also interesting because after Untold made the point that Saudi Arabia’s purchase of Newcastle United would put them on a collision course with Jérôme Valcke and PSG, the media en masse rushed in to defend beIN as the good guys against nasty Saudi Arabia with it pirate station BEoutQ.  Not everyone in Europe would agree – although of course the cases discussed here are yet to be heard and no allegations are made by Untold, its publishers, its chums, or indeed the office cat.

The president of the PSG is accused of misusing his position, while an associated businessman is also implicated in active bribery and instigation of unfair management.  The trial is scheduled to start on September 14.

But also implicated – and this is where it really gets to be fun – is Attorney General of Switzerland, Michael Lauber, who has held a number of secret meetings with the president of FIFA, Gianni Infantino.

The European press has been going bonkers, as for example recently, the German newspaper “Süddeutsche Zeitung” described Swiss prosecutors as “clumsy Confederates, who give the impression of a troop of amateur detectives”.

Of all this – one of the biggest cases yet to hit Fifa, the English press said, ”                                 “.   Yep, nothing about any of it.  A case that could affect the whole of world football, not to mention the Swiss justice system.  And why nothing?  Oh, because England is going to bid for a future world cup.

Jérôme Valcke (he’s the former secretary of Fifa – do try to keep up) is accused of aggravated unfair management and Nasser al-Khelaïfi of instigation of aggravated unfair management. However, the Federal Criminal Court (TPF) has noted that with the partial withdrawal of FIFA’s complaint against Valcke.  Why this was withdrawn, we don’t know.  Dodgy deals are suspected.

All sorts of technical activities have been happening in the Swiss courts.  Cases have been separated, thrown out, brought back, joined together… But we keep coming back to the allocation by FIFA of the rights to retransmit the 2026 and 2030 cups for the Middle East and North Africa regions to the BeIN Media Group owned by Nasser al-Khelaïfi.

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Jérôme Valcke is accused of aggravated unfair management, and passive corruption. The president of PSG is accused of instigation with unfair management. A third businessman is also implicated in active bribery and instigation of unfair management. The trial is scheduled to start on September 14.

The consensus in Europe is that this can only get worse for everyone involved as the German press en masse (sorry I don’t know the German for en masse) call the Swiss prosecutors “a troop of amateur detectives.”  The English press says, ”                                                  .”

And it gets to be more fun.  The Swiss Federal Court is now accused of having had secret encounters with Gianni Infantino!  There are calls for the Swiss parliament to sack to the public prosecutor.  Swiss justice is said to be in the balance because of the level of corruption exposed in these various football related cases.

At the heart of the scandal is what is known as the “football complex,” several dozen criminal investigations that the Federal Prosecutor’s Office (known as the BA) is conducting concerning corruption offences in world football.   In short, the argument is that the prosecutor investigating the corruption of Fifa is himself possibly guilty of corruption.

And none of this is in the English media!

Much of this, as is ever the case with Fifa, leads back to the TV rights deal that Infantino (when newly elected as FIFA boss) signed when he was the chief lawyer of Uefa. When this became public in February 2016, the BA began to investigate.

In November 2017, a few months after the third secret meeting between prosecutors and the accused, the investigation into Uefa and its processes was discontinued and it is clear from that, that the investigators, the top law enforcement officers in Switzerland and Fifa were getting very, very chummy.

Documents also show that BA investigators and Fifa lawyers were making “arrangements” (we might say “deals”) almost every day! The federal prosecutors leading the case had discussions in over 20 occasions with the Fifa lawyers in Zurich between July and September 2016 and the BA is said to have supported FIFA lawyers in getting the case downgraded.  The impeachment of the Swiss attorney general is now on the cards.

Can I just run that one again: they are preparing for the impeachment of the Swiss attorney general over matters of football bribery and corruption relating to competitions that England participates in, and this doesn’t get a mention in the English media!!!!!!

New allegations against both the federal prosecutor AND Gianni Infantino are now coming to the surface. The basic accusation is simple – the federal prosecutor’s office and the FIFA lawyers have been working together to smooth over the case, to downgrade it and basically, if a carpet can be found, to sweep the case under it.

Fifa has called the allegations “deliberately misleading and malicious,” and that the “true nature of the facts” were “deliberately omitted” in reports of the matter.  But they have declined to say what the true nature of the facts actually is.

Fifa has also launched an attack on the hacker who exposed Manchester City’s activities in relation to Uefa in the Football Leaks files in “Spiegel” and who is now under house arrest in Portugal.  Fifa writes: “First, the email mentioned in the article was apparently obtained through hacking, which is an illegal and criminal act. The email mentioned in the article was a private email to a close friend of Mr. Infantino, and the content … quoted is completely out of context, with the sole aim of misleading … In fact, not only did Mr. Infantino have no reason to lie in this email, the email never said that Mr. Infantino “wanted to delete his name”. On the contrary, Mr. Infantino only expressed the wish to explain the situation with “I have nothing to do with it.”

The allegation that Infantino was being prosecuted for a contract for UEFA competitions in Ecuador was “a clear and complete lie with the sole purpose of damaging Mr. Infantino’s reputation without any evidence. It was therefore quite normal for Mr Infantino to feel very upset about the lies being spread on the matter and to speak to several people, including his friends. It must therefore be made very clear that everything that Mr Infantino has done in this regard is neither illegal nor does it violate any rule of an organization. In fact, Mr. Infantino was neither the subject of an investigation nor was there any trial against him at that time or later.”

They further argue that meetings with the Attorney General of Switzerland, Michael Lauber were also normal for Infantino so that he can “demonstrate his and Fifa’s willingness to cooperate in an investigation into what happened to Fifa before he arrived in office. That was the case in 2016 and still is today. Fifa, which has been damaged in the past by criminal acts by several people, meets regularly with prosecutors around the world. Nowhere is this a problem, except apparently in Switzerland.”

What they forget to say is that in many other countries, people would also be sentenced to imprisonment for “co-operating” with FIFA. In the USA in particular, “cooperation with Fifa” has led to over 40 criminal convictions.

In another attempt at deflection, Fifa is still attacking Sepp Blatter and Co.: “As far as Switzerland is concerned, Fifa and Mr. Infantino hope that all studies in connection with the kleptomaniac activities of old Fifa, which have cost football millions worldwide, to be completed soon and that there will be concrete results in the form of convictions. This will also end the poorly informed and / or ill-intentioned speculation of conspiracy theories aimed at helping the same people who have hurt FIFA and football and who have so far not been held accountable for such criminal acts. Let us focus here on punishing criminals without engaging in local political disputes between some MPs, the media and / or prosecutors. Because if the message is that you can steal tens of millions in Switzerland, as happened in and around old FIFA, and do it with impunity, then it will be very sad. Not for FIFA, for Switzerland. »

By a decision of 25 March, the Court of Criminal Affairs decided to separate from the main proceedings part of the charges brought against the former FIFA secretary and the president of Paris Saint-Germain (PSG). This was the case of the villa in Sardinia valued at 5 million euros offered by the second to the first in order to obtain transmission rights for the 2026 and 2030 World Cups.

And still the point remains.   The FA, using taxpayers’ money, is preparing to bid for the world cup again, while the organisation running the world cup is itself accused of colluding with corrupt officials in Switzerland, for its own political, and individual financial gain.   And none of our newspapers or media outlets ever mentions this.

So I simply wonder – why does this not make the news in England?

2 comments to The Fifa / PSG / Swiss corruption cases are major news in Europe. But not in the UK. Why?

  • Laos Gooner

    I suspect the lack of reporting in the UK is due to the fact that we lack sports journalists. That said we lack most types of journalists which will no doubt be in keeping with the idea of putting Newspeak ahead of facts. I was amused that it is only speculation at this time that June may be too early to think of the football season restarting due to the next review of the situation being on May 7th. I can not help but wonder whether it is an unfamiliarity with facts that is the problem and with most of these scribblers are only “reportedly”journalists.

  • omgarsenal

    FIFA has never remedied or remediated its corrupt infrastructure, nor why should they? Infantino and his minions can enrich themselves and their hangers-on with complete impunity, relying on their lawyers glib tongues and the corruption of everyone and everything they touch, to see them through. The sweet FA blindly ignores any whiff of wrong-doing and spends heaps of taxpayers’ money on their vain and fruitless efforts to obtain the WC.

    There is real hope that the Yanks will unveil the King who is naked and that some form of serious ûnishment and remediation will occur, but we will see. The pandemic has given everyone time for reflection, but you can rest assured the English media, the government, the ministry for sport and the sweet FA will firmly ignore this hiatus and con tin ue on their incompetent journey to perdition.

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