The crimes of the FA: failing to deal with Fifa and with discrimination

This is the fifth part of a series of articles reviewing the catastrophe that is the Football Association and the total inability of the UK government to stop funding it with tax payers money

And so part five of our series on the crimes of the FA.

This one is about the Serious Fraud Office (an independent UK Government department that investigates and prosecutes serious or complex fraud and corruption) recognising that various money-laundering offences involving the bidding for the 2018 (Russia) and 2022 (Qatar) World Cups had taken place involving English money.   It announced this just as Sepp Blatter 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 looked rather bad.  But the FA 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 immediately made 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, then 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.  (Infantino is no different guys – follow the story in the Swiss courts and on Untold).

There was no doubt that Greg Dyke (chairman of the FA 2013-2016) knew the world cup 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.

In an attempt to deflect attention Dyke said the FA would now investigate the possibility of recovering the £21m spent on the failed bid.  [The money was never recovered – UK taxpayers footed the bill].   But meanwhile the Serious Fraud Office was able to 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.  At a lunch afterwards with Mr Platini he said it would be good to go to Qatar.

“Four votes from Europe went away from the USA and so the result was 14 to eight.”  That case is currently wending its way through the American courts.

Greg Dyke then gave 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.”

Of course the alternative argument was for the UK government to get the taxpayers money back from the FA but this it utterly failed to do.

But the FA was investigated after 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?   After 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 Inclusion Advisory Board.  You couldn’t make it up (unless you worked for the FA).

Then other members of the IAB wrote 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 Jose 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.  Since the FA is supposedly as strongly against sexual abuse as it is against racial abuse, this was a bizarre and outrageous affair.

In October 2013, Heather Rabbits criticised the make-up of the Football Association’s commission to improve the national team as being “all-white, all-male”.  After the complaint Rio Ferdinand was subsequently added to the commission.  On 1 June 2015, Ms Rabbits resigned from FIFA’s anti-discrimination taskforce following Sepp Blatter’s re-election as president.  She left the board of the FA in 2017.

The series continues.


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