von Jens Weinreich und Andrew Jennings
ZÜRICH. Wenn ich mir die Berichterstattung über ein so genanntes Interview des FIFA-Präsidenten in einem für mich irrelevanten, schmierig-verkommenen deutschen Boulevardblatt anschaue, fällt mir nichts mehr ein. Wie können so genannte Nachrichtenagenturen überhaupt aus diesem verruchten Blatt zitieren, das ist eine Frage, aber so funktioniert nun mal das verlogene Mediengeschäft, eine andere Frage lautet:
Merken die nicht, dass das nichts weiter ist als Blatter-Propaganda powered by Bild?
Sie merken es natürlich nicht.
In verschiedenen Redaktionen, die mich bereits kontaktierten, sind nun die politischen Ressorts ganz aufgeregt. Wie traurig. Aber so läuft das, sie springen ja immer im Kreis, wenn eine so genannte Nachrichtenagentur eine Bild-Geschichte promotet.
Ein Grund mehr, der Branche Adieu zu sagen. Unerträglich.
Aber zurück zum Thema: Joseph Blatter und seine Helfershelfer wollen mit diesem Beitrag natürlich nur von den wahren Problemen ablenken. Nichts sonst. Ich weiß nicht, ob eins der Themen (Frauen im Exko, Profischiedsrichter, Torkamera etc pp) neu ist. Eher nicht. Er hat alles schon teilweise vor ewigen Zeiten so gesagt – vor allem aber hätte er es bereits vor Jahrhunderten ändern können.
Aber so ein Plaudern verpflichtet zu nichts. Deshalb ja: Ablenkungsmanöver. „Revolutionäre Pläne“? Pure Propaganda.
Liebe Freunde, und das gilt auch für meine Freunde in der FIFA: Hier im Blog gibt es weiter das Kontrastprogramm, so wie es sich gehört.
Die Havelange-Geschichte habe ich noch einmal für andere Medien aufgeschrieben und einige neue Nuancen beigetragen:
- Spiegel Online: Havelange-Rücktritt wird für Blatter zur Gefahr
- Neue Zürcher Zeitung: Der unrühmliche Abgang João Havelanges
Wenn meine Infos stimmen, dann ist in Kürze Neues zu erwarten. Angeblich noch heute. Manche Leute sind ganz aufgeregt.
Derweil sitzt mein Kompagnon Andrew Jennings in Paris mit europäischen Parlamentariern zusammen und klärt sie über die FIFA-Strukturen auf. Unlängst hat Andrew Jennings ja einen Vortrag in Brasilia vor einem Senatsausschuss gehalten …
- Andrew Jennings’ presentation to Senate Committee in Brasilia: “The Truth about FIFA Corruption & Ricardo Teixeira”
… jetzt gerade spricht er in Paris vor dem Komitee für Kultur, Wissenschaft und Bildung des Europarats, das sich heute u.a. mit dem Thema Korruption im Sport befasst.
Das Komitee hatte ihn vor einigen Wochen bereits um eine schriftliche Zuarbeit gebeten. Der Beitrag kann die jüngsten Entwicklungen natürlich noch nicht berücksichtigen, aber – voilà – hier ist der Jennings-Text:
FIFA – Institutionally corrupt and incapable of reforming itself. How it happened – and what can be done.
by Andrew Jennings
Who I am: I’m not a sports reporter. For the past 45 years I have specialised in investigating corruption and, in the last 2 decades, the major international sports federations. I write books (my investigation book on FIFA is in 16 languages), make investigative films for the BBC and other broadcasters, and write articles for press and magazines. I also contribute to academic journals, speak at academic conferences and conventions of forensic auditors, lawyers and the sports industry.
My previous longterm investigation, in the 1980s, was into Organised Crime in Sicily and London. This was perfect training for understanding the structures of the IOC, the IAAF and then FIFA.
Everything I write and broadcast is based on their internal, confidential documents. FIFA have threatened but never sued me.
FIFA as Mafia:
I have no hesitation characterising FIFA as an Organised Crime Syndicate. They tick all the boxes in the academic definition. FIFA has a supreme and unaccountable Boss of Bosses: President Joseph Blatter, operating the regime of industrial-scale corruption, the legacy of former President Joao Havelange.
Blatter was put in power in Paris in 1998 with the help of inducements by Havelange and massive bribes delivered by Mohammed Bin Hammam from Qatar, defeating the scrupulously honest Lennart Johansson. Deceitfully, Blatter charged CHF68,000 of his election expenses to FIFA, approving this expenditure retrospectively once elected. Bin Hammam paid the bribes again in 2002 and Blatter has never had to face a presidential vote since.
‘Don’ Blatter heads up six interlocking families. These are the continental confederations. Blatter has huge powers of patronage, based on the billions earned from the World Cup. He uses this to lubricate the affiliated 208 national associations. The grease is lightly audited multi-million dollar ‘development grants’ and access to immense quantities of World Cup tickets to sell for cash into the Black Market, frequently for secret tax-free profits.
The other essential element is the complicity of law enforcement and politicians. Apart from one dedicated Swiss Investigating Magistrate who has tried to unearth the grotesque corruption at FIFA, other police appeared intimidated by Blatter being entertained everywhere from the White House to Downing Street to the Elysée to the Kremlin. The corruption scandals have now encouraged prosecutors in three further countries to start digging.
These secret rewards help explain why our national associations practise Omerta. You rarely hear a word of criticism from their leaders. The ones who decline the grease are appointed to FIFA committees and ‘well-looked after’ with per diems and expenses. Any individual, club or federation that dares to take FIFA to court is suspended; our democratic institutions are off-limits in Herr Blatter’s world.
So: the world’s most popular sport is dominated by a tiny elite of unrepentant thieves, unaccountable because of the lack of scrutiny. Sadly, their money machine is covered by football reporters who have no training investigating corruption.
I have been banned from FIFA press conferences since April 2003 after I published a documented story disclosing that Blatter pays himself a secret six-figure annual bonus for ‘loyalty.’ Blatter announced the story was ‘fiction’ and promised to sue. He didn’t. Blatter refuses to reveal what he pays himself in salary, bonuses, housing and car allowances, expenses and other perks.
Meet the Family of Football:
After 36 years as an employee and later President, Blatter seems out of touch with the real world. Protected by his media minders he travels only by imperial private chartered jet, avoiding the fans that frequently boo him. This year of scandal has limited his red carpet options and he is reduced to photocalls in Burma, Zimbabwe and Azerbaijan where there are no risks of free media and sceptical reporters.
You will be aware that FIFA vice-president Jack Warner from Trinidad hurriedly resigned this year following revelations of his involvement in an attempt by Mohamed Bin Hammam in May to pay $1 million dollars in cash bribes to Caribbean officials to support him in the presidential election. Bin Hammam has been banned for life.
The initiative to expose these men was taken by American Chuck Blazer, also a member of FIFA’s executive committee.
For 21 years Mr Warner and Mr Blazer used their continental confederation spanning North and Central America and the micro states of the Caribbean as their private bank account, endlessly enriched with FIFA grants. Mr Blazer has long been both General Secretary and Treasurer of the confederation, defying all good governance practices. In July I published correspondence and bank records suggesting that Mr Blazer has been in receipt of large sums of FIFA money in his Cayman Islands private account. Sepp Blatter declines to investigate.
Blatter also refused to act when in 2006 Manhattan Judge Loretta Preska found for MasterCard against FIFA and stated: ‘Mr Blazer’s testimony was generally without credibility, based on his attitude and evasive answers on cross examination.’ She added: ‘Mr Blazer’s testimony is rejected as fabricated.’ FIFA settled the case, paying $90 million.
In mid-October it was revealed in Argentina that Julio Grondona, chair of FIFA’s Finance Committee, and his family and close aides control bank accounts in Switzerland containing around $120 million. Although the accounts have featured prominently in the Swiss media, Blatter has declined to refer Grondona to FIFA’s Ethics Committee. Police in Buenos Aires are on the case.
The $100 million bribe scandal:
Despite the current scandals that disfigure FIFA there is one long-running racket of epic proportions. In the 1970s marketing companies sought to unlock the value in sport. Joao Havelange was elected FIFA president in 1974 with the help of bribes paid by Horst Dassler of the Adidas company. Dassler set up a company named ISL to capture the TV and marketing rights for the Olympics, world athletics, UEFA and FIFA.
He was wildly successful. The most senior FIFA officials, primarily Havelange, received contract kickbacks. One ISL manager described them to me as ‘regular, like a salary.’ The value of World Cup TV rights soared in the middle 1990s and the IMG company sought to oust ISL.
I obtained the exchange of confidential letters between IMG and FIFA in 1995 and 1996 (I quote them extensively in my book FOUL! – Carton Rouge in France) that demonstrate the outrage of IMG as General Secretary Blatter used every device to favour ISL – who won.
The kickbacks soared but in early 2001, ISL was declared bankrupt. The liquidator discovered the list of bribes and extracted a modest secret settlement from unnamed FIFA officials. The money was paid into an account in February 2004, created by Blatter’s lawyer.
Raid on FIFA House:
Meanwhile Investigating Magistrate Thomas Hildbrand from the Canton of Zug began investigating. Blatter, in secret, tried to get Hildbrand removed. It didn’t work and on the morning of November 3, 2005 Hildbrand raided FIFA House and seized documents. FIFA refuse to discuss this embarrassment.
In March 2008 six executives from ISL went on trial in Zug, accused of trading while insolvent. There were two shocks during the trial. The first was the disclosure in the criminal indictment of the bribes paid from mid-1999, when the Prosecutor considered ISL to have been insolvent. Most of the 37 illicit payments were made to impenetrable Liechtenstein companies but two stood out: one was a total of $130,000 paid to Nicolas Leoz, a member of FIFA’s Executive Committee and still president of the Latin-American confederation. Blatter refuses to investigate.
On the second day Judge Siegwart asked the defendants, who got the money? They refused to say. Those of us in court were electrified when Judge Siegwart announced that the full total of bribes from 1989 until 2001 was around $100 million. That was widely published – but Blatter refuses to investigate.
Magistrate Hildbrand launched a second investigation into who took the bribes. This was completed in May 2010 and in a Swiss procedure, it was announced that an unknown number of FIFA officials would repay some of the money and make a donation to charity. This settlement would remain confidential
Blatter announced that he had been cleared of any wrongdoing and that he would make no further comment. FIFA refuses to disclose how this repayment has been recorded in their accounts. I continued my investigations for the BBC and obtained a list of 175 bribes paid since 1989 to sports officials, mostly at FIFA. The total was indeed $100 million.
We broadcast a BBC Panorama programme in November 2010, linking ISL payments of $9.5 million to a Liechtenstein company named Sanud to Brazilian FIFA executive committee member Ricardo Teixeira, the former son-in-law of Joao Havelange.
I also found a bribe of $1 million dollars direct to Havelange. In March 1997 ISL, by mistake, sent the $1 million to a FIFA account! The Finance Director took the payment notification to Blatter who ordered that the money be forwarded to Havelange – and tried, without success, to persuade the UBS bank to erase it from their records. I believe Havelange received a great deal more.
There were further payments of $600,000 to Nicolas Leoz and a payment of $30,000 to Issa Hayatou, a FIFA vice-president.
There were also payments to IAAF president Lamine Diack totalling $41,000, mostly in cash. Diack, Havelange and Hayatou are members of the IOC who launched an investigation. The BBC has put all these allegations to the men concerned and all have refused to comment. Blatter refuses to investigate.
Unravelling the secret settlement:
I continued my investigations and in May 2011 we broadcast another BBC Panorama which revealed some of the contents of the secret settlement of the Hildbrand investigation. Havelange and Teixeira had signed confessions that they received kickbacks and agreed to repay some money to FIFA. Blatter, for FIFA, had to admit that he knew about the bribes system. This report has remained confidential.
Sunday Times Insight investigation:
In the late Summer of 2010, as the vote at FIFA into who should stage the World Cups of 2018 and 2022 approached, the Insight team of the London Sunday Times set out to investigate if any of the 23 members of FIFA’s executive committee were open to selling their votes to bidding nations.
Using secret recording equipment Insight exposed FIFA executive committee members Amos Adamu from Nigeria and Reynald Temarri from Tahiti. They were suspended by FIFA.
The Insight team recorded secret interviews with football officials around the world. They heard astonishing allegations about endemic corruption at FIFA; in the secret ballot to host 2010, Morocco beat South Africa by two votes – this was suppressed; they talked about bribes paid in the past to host the World Cup – and clamed that bribes were being offered by the Qatar team bidding to host 2022.
Did Blatter investigate these very serious allegations? No, he instituted disciplinary processes and these men were suspended from world football. Their crime was talking. Omerta still rules.
Buying the World Cup:
German investigative reporters obtained documents showing that associates of the Germany bid paid bribes in 2000 to a number of FIFA executive committee members, including Worawi Makudi from Thailand, to defeat South Africa to host 2006. Blatter did not investigate. I featured this corruption in a BBC Panorama in 2007.
Following angry protests by South Africa, Blatter announced a new policy of rotating the World Cup between continents. South Africa won 2010 and Ricardo Teixeira was given his own World Cup in Brazil in 2014 to loot. That was the end of rotation.
The old men get too greedy:
The greed of the ageing members of FIFA’s executive committee precipitated this year’s stream of corruption allegations. The trigger was Blatter announcing that FIFA would simultaneously choose hosts for 2018 – and for distant 2022. No other sports organisation makes such decisions so far ahead. I have no doubt that this was so more bribes could be extracted, especially from petro-dollar rich states. (I am Scottish and did not support the England bid!)
You may be aware that there is great scepticism about the bizarre decision to award 2022 to Qatar. Evidence has become available that bribes were paid – specific amounts have been mentioned – and several members of the FIFA executive committee have been named. Unsurprisingly FIFA shows no interest in investigating. It is to be hoped the public authorities will pursue this betrayal of trust.
Once Blatter has been deposed, FIFA will have to revisit this decision. At that time we can hope that FIFA will cease making outrageous demands on governments for exemptions to tax and labour laws that breach EU law.
FIFA General Secretary Jerome Valcke:
In 2001, when employed by the French Vivendi company to conduct due diligence with a view to acquiring the assets of the bankrupt ISL company Mr Valcke appears to have stumbled over the massive bribes paid by the company. During negotiations with FIFA he received a letter from Blatter on April 30, 2001 in which the FIFA President wrote . . . “Threats were specifically directed against both FIFA and “certain gentlemen of FIFA.” And . . . “The position of FIFA in no way will ever be altered by any threats or attempts of blackmailing.” (I have this letter)
Vivendi withdrew but in June 2003 Blatter appointed Valcke as FIFA’s Director of Marketing. Valcke was fired in December after being accused of lying in the MasterCard trial in New York. In a press release (December 12, 2006) Blatter stated, ‘FIFA cannot possibly accept such conduct among its own employees.’
But it did. Six months later, in June 2007, Blatter appointed Valcke to the post of FIFA General Secretary. The sacking – and the reasons – are erased from Valcke’s official FIFA biography. Instead, it states that Valcke has had, ‘a brilliant career.’
Keeping it in the Family:
The FIFA Family delivers lucrative contracts to Blatter’s nephew Philippe Blatter, CEO of the Infront sports marketing company. When ISL collapsed, Infront occupied their suite of offices in Zug. Infront then acquired the valuable World Cup TV rights for Asia formerly held by ISL. Among their employees is at least one person involved in the Germany bribes in 2000 for 2006.
Philippe Blatter’s Infront company also has a stake in the MATCH company which has the Hospitality contracts for 2010 – 2022. Another shareholder in MATCH is the Dentsu company who were 49% shareholders in ISL throughout the years they paid the massive bribes.
MATCH is 85% owned by Jamie and Enrique Byrom. Their Byrom company were awarded contracts to manage all the ticket sales for the World Cup in Korea/Japan and again last year in South Africa. In Brazil they will be producing, selling and distributing the remaining 3.2 million tickets.
Cleaning FIFA’s stables:
FIFA’s Ethics and Disciplinary Committees are handpicked by Blatter. They are not allowed to launch investigations without permission from Blatter or Valcke. The Chair of the Ethics Committee is former Swiss footballer, now lawyer, Claudio Sulser. At a press conference late last year Mr Sulser refused to investigate the ISL bribery scandal asserting it is ‘historic.’
It is worth noting that in January this year Guenter Hirsch, a former president of Germany’s Federal Court of Justice, resigned from Sulser’s committee stating, ‘those responsible in FIFA have no real interest in playing an active role in the resolution, pursuance and prevention of violations of FIFA’s ethics code.‘
On October 21, 2011, at a tightly controlled press conference (one question only, nothing permitted on ISL) Blatter uttered the usual platitudes about ‘Road Maps’ to reform and ‘Task Forces.’ Blatter will hand-pick these entities. The one on ‘Transparency and Compliance,’ is chaired by an official close to the corrupt Nicolas Leoz.
One of Blatter’s many delaying tactics is that decisions cannot be taken until the FIFA Congress in 2013. So FIFA will be its own investigator, judge and jury – one day.
Perhaps the most outrageous announcement concerned the Report of Magistrate Hildbrand. The Zug Prosecutor is prepared to disclose it to the media ‘because it is in the public interest’. Blatter is spending FIFA money on Zurich lawyers to fight for suppression. So too are Teixeira and Havelange. The BBC and Swiss media are pursing legal action through the courts. Our lawyers are adamant that in about 12 months time we will win at the Swiss Federal Court.
The report is about 40 pages in length. A copy resides in Blatter’s desk. He was not cleared – he had to admit that he knew money was diverted from FIFA in the form of kickbacks. Publication would immediately terminate his presidency.
Blatter now claims he wants to release the Report but insists, ‘This can only be done after a thorough legal analysis because of the complexity of the matter,’ adding ‘It will then be given to an independent body for further examination.’ One must ask, why doesn’t he just post it on the internet and let the world do the examining?
The verdict of the IOC:
The day after we meet in Paris the IOC is expected to publish its decisions (December 7/8) about the bribery rackets of Hayatou, Diack, Teixeira, Havelange – and possibly Blatter who handled his $1 million. President Jaques Rogge appears to realise that if the IOC’s reforms after the 1999 Salt Lake cash and sex for votes scandal are to be credible, he must be seen to act where Blatter will not.
[Das ist nun überholt: IOC-Doyen und FIFA-Patron João Havelange tritt zurück, weil er nicht rausgeschmissen werden will]
What can be done?
Transparency International has a fine record that is blemished by its delusion that it is assisting Blatter reform FIFA. It has already been embarrassed by Blatter giving new business to his nephew and we must hope that wiser heads at TI will withdraw from this ‘consultation’ process before they become the subject of global ridicule and undermine their good work elsewhere.
Come on, you politicians!
Our politicians everywhere owe it to the fans to intervene and reclaim FIFA for the honest people of the world. The Swiss government has indicated it will act after the end of this year. Lawmakers could condemn FIFA for its rampant corruption and resistance to reform. They could also call on sponsors to live up to their claims of social responsibility and talk of turning off the money tap. That would send a shudder through FIFA. Emirates are showing the way.
But there is a quick, cheap and easy answer. FIFA should be told to immediately put everything on line, just as our Governments do. Every set of minutes, every email, every expenses claim, the salaries of Blatter and his Directors, the honoraria and expenses paid to executive committee members. Committee meetings should be streamed and an independent Freedom of Information Officer appointed to enforce disclosure. The secret dirty dealings would end, proper scrutiny achieved for every fan.
Freedom of Information exists in all EU states and many more worldwide. Blatter’s regime, having sacrificed any claim to respect and legitimacy, must become transparent.
Im Vortrag wird Andrew Jennings auch eine Untersuchungskommission für die WM-Vergaben an Russland und Katar fordern.