Another day another Fifa corruption scandal (but don’t tell the English media)



By Sir Hardly Anyone

It is not a phrase that one would expect to see in an English publication but the notion that “the FIFA corruption scandal never seems to end” is one very likely to appear in the media of much of the rest of the world.  Quite why the English media won’t touch such matters is of course because they bend the knee to Fifa in order to get free admission to games, and because the FA is a crumbling wreck of old timers willing to give up anything for any freeloading trip.   Likewise, they won’t question PGMO referees despite their weird statistics, for fear of not being allowed into grounds.

If you want more on the odd behaviour of referees you could do worse than to start here.  Meanwhile, the story of yet more Fifa corruption comes from the New York Times and that is here.

Football in the USA is used to unravelling corruption – after all they have had a fulsome investigation and trial into corruption in football, and it was the American authorities who persuaded Switzerland to change its laws and allow American law enforcement into the country in order to arrest half of the executives.  An early version of the affair was reported here.

And now they’ve got another adventure, one starting tomorrow, by coincidence. And to be clear these are not trials relating to match fixing, which is another matter totally, but rather trials about who paid who what in order to get the rights to show football on TV.

This is interesting given that so far there have been 29 convictions in previous cases concerning bribery and corruption in this field.  Interesting, because this time it is the almighty Fox corporation that is indicted.  The allegation is that Fox has paid vast sums to naughty individuals in Fifa, in order to get the rights to show the world cup.   Who’d ever believe that!  Fifa involved in fraud!!   (But to be clear the trial hasn’t started so no one is guilty.)

And to be doubleplus clear the current Fox is not accused of anything – it is some of their ex-employees of the old version of Fox (the one that was known as 21st Century Fox) that have been dealing in inside information.

Now as we know Fifa always sells itself as the innocent victim, not least after last summer the American justice department handed over nearly $100m to Fifa that it had recovered following its corruption trials.  Quite what Fifa did with it we don’t know.

Anyway, the New York Times suggests all the usual suspects are again facing trial for all the usual crimes, along with “Full Play Group SA”, an “Argentinian sports media rights company which holds the TV rights for most South American and Concacaf teams.”  Also implicated are Hugo Jinkis, who with his son were arrested in 2015 in connection with the 2015 Fifa corruption case.  All the directors were replaced in 2015 of that year and a new lot were put in place.  It is of course the “new lot” who are now under suspicion, leading to the question, why are Fifa so unfortunate that everyone they try to get into bed with, turns out to be a crook.   Very bad luck if you ask me.

Anyway the newspaper concludes quite simply that “global soccer has a profound corruption problem,” which is exactly what Untold Arsenal has been saying since we started publishing almost 15 years ago to the day.

So the trial in Brooklyn, is expected to last four to six weeks, focuses on López, who is apparently both an American and Argentine citizen, and Martínez, who also has United States citizenship.

The NY Times report says, “López and Martínez have emphatically denied the charges against them in court filings, claiming that any bribes would have been paid by Burzaco.”  They also tell us that “López left Fox in January 2016, seven months after the first indictment in the FIFA case, and subsequently founded the podcasting company Wondery, which he sold to Amazon for a reported $300 million nine months after he was indicted in the soccer case.”

Muddy waters not reported in the UK for some reason, but possibly worth a subscription to the New York Times, for whose diligence and hard work we are always eternally grateful.

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