By Tony Attwood
The story so far…
Self-evidently Untold Arsenal does not have its “man in Switzlerland” with inside knowledge of the multiple issues facing Fifa at the moment. All we do is look at Swiss, German and French newspapers and report (with the help of our European friends) what they are saying.
And this is exactly the case in the article that follows which follows from yesterday’s piece, Amazing unbelievable development in the Fifa battle; sadly not on UK news
In this case we a reporting what appears in Süddeutsche Zeitung, Germany’s largest broadsheet newspaper, a paper that has won a number of prestigious awards for its investigative journalism.
And we’re doing it because while newspapers and broadcasters across Europe are agog at the amazing revelations about what is happening with regards to the battle between Fifa, the Swiss judiciary and the American authorities, the UK alone stands aloof from the story. Presumably because the FA is anxious to do more business with Fifa, and really doesn’t want any more corruption stories being splattered around the press.
So far, three members of the Fifa executive are accused of receiving bribes ahead of the voting on who should host the 2022 world cup. Had the votes that the USA said went to Qatar by way of bribes gone the other way, there would have been a stalemate and as President Sepp Blatter has said he would have cast the deciding vote (as chair) for the USA.
Blatter has now long gone, and is banned from football after his own corruption was revealed. He was replaced by Infantino who then came under investigation by the Swiss authorities for corruption of his own. Ahead of the court hearings Infantino held a series of un-minuted (and thus illegal) meetings with the Swiss Federal Prosecutor, the most senior law officer in Switzerland.
As a result of these meetings Federal Prosecutor Lauber is now himself being prosecuted for having had these unrecorded meetings without others present. Infantino is also fighting a rear-guard action as the Swiss legal system moves in on him for a variety of other alleged offences.
Meanwhile Loretta Lynch, previously Attorney General of the USA, and who proclaimed in 2015 that she was leading the crusade against corruption within Fifa, on behalf of the USA, (which felt it had been robbed of hosting the 2022 world cup finals), has now turned up at Fifa, working alongside Infantino.
Also Fifa now has an “ethics investigator” Maria Claudia Rojas, who was nominated by Infantino, who has now decided that Infantino should not step down while the Swiss prosecution continues.
Obviously there are many reasons why there should be no world cup in Qatar – not just because of the ludicrous heat and the bribery and corruption in obtaining the votes but also because Qatar has since used slave labour to build the required stadia.
Now (unbelievably) Ms Lynch will be the keynote speaker at a Fifa anti-corruption conference – although Fifa is not providing any information on Ms Lynch’s background as the person who launched America’s own anti-corruption campaign against Fifa.
Fifa has confirmed that it changed legal advisers last year – although of course there is nothing unusual in that and says there was “no reason” for it to declare who its new legal adviser was. They do suggest however that Paul Weiss, the law firm that previously employed Loretta Lynch, was the law firm that helped Fifa recover millions of dollars “that were illegally stolen from Fifa and football during the decades of corruption under the previous administration,” (ie Blatter).
In other words, there is nothing amiss with Fifa today, and to prove it the top American lawyer who prosecuted Fifa in the past is now working for Fifa.
As SZ recently said, [translated from the German of course] “It will be all the more interesting to know how long the ties between Infantino and Lynch have existed; and how tight they are.” SZ then traces the history, which can be translated and summarised as this:
Sepp Blatter announced he was leaving Fifa after facing revelations of corruption, which were brought by Lynch on behalf of the USA government.
Infantino at that time was General Secretary of Uefa, and everyone expected that Infantino’s boss (Uefa President Michel Platini), would take over at Fifa, and a new regime would take over Uefa and hopefully clean it up.
But then in the autumn of 2015, revelations emerged of a payment made in 2011 of just under £2m from Fifa to Platini in return for “consultancy” which was in fact what SZ rather neatly call a spot of “sport-political landscape maintenance.”
The Swizz Federal Prosecutor’s Office under Lauber started an investigation and both Blatter and Platini were suspended by Fifa. This left a huge gap in Fifa’s hierarchy, and so up stepped Infantino as temporary general secretary, until he was temporary no more.
Then on 8 July 2015, the senior public prosecutor for Switzerland, who as we revealed recently, grew up in the same district of Switzerland, and it now turns out was Infantino’s childhood friend, appeared on the scene to discuss legal issues.
Meanwhile it was also revealed that the information on the payment from Fifa to Platini for “consultancy” came from a whistle-blower. But now there are questions as to what links there were between Infantino and the US judiciary at this time.
Loretta Lynch has not, according to SZ, given any information on whether there was any contact between her or her staff and Infantino’s staff during her time as Justice Minister. And Fifa also is not saying anything about when Infantino and Lynch first had a meeting nor about how Lynch moved from working against Fifa to working with Fifa.
According to SZ this is turning into a “real cabaret,” and I can’t find a better phrase.
But all the time the UK media refuses to touch it. Obviously with their resources they could do a much better job than I can, and I am not fully convinced by the notion that they won’t follow any of this story because “English readers are not interested in Fifa” (or overseas matters, or corruption).
Rather it is as if they have all agreed with each other not to take this on. Just as they seem all to agree with each other never to criticise PGMO and its bizarre processes. And to take this down to parochial level, no one will ever mention the extraordinary way in which the statistics of football changed last season with Leicester City’s tackling level, without getting yellow cards.
Of course the issue of tackling is minute compared with Fifa, but these three areas of interest (Fifa and corruption, PGMO, Premier League statistical anomalies), suggest that if one goes looking, there are real oddities to be found at all levels of football.
It’s not just one oddity that is out there, but several. And since just a tiny number of us have found these three unreported issues, just by looking and being tipped off by friends in Europe, it would suggest there are more to be found. If only we had the time and resources.
But we will keep looking.
- Amazing unbelievable development in the Fifa battle; sadly not on UK news
- The Fifa court cases continue, more corruption, more scandals and the FA says…
- Is Fifa now threatening the media’s future access to the world cup?
- Fifa in chaos. England is silent but Europe is up in arms
- Federal court rejects challenges filed by Fifa secretary Jérôme Valcke.
- The man whom Sepp Blatter called a megalomaniac
- Injuries Time to sack Tierney accordinig to one part of the media
- Next season starting lineup and the new Financial Fair Play rules
- The huge bias of referees is proven. PGMO and media fight back.
- 93 players rumoured to be going to Arsenal. Are the journos getting lazy?
- The home and away scandal: ignorance, or cover up?