welt-anti-korruptions-agentur

Match-Fixing und der Sport: Dämonen in Schlüsselpositionen

In der Diskussion über den Sport und die Wettmafia werden die Korruption und Verbrechen begünstigenden Strukturprobleme der Sportbranche und ihrer Funktionäre vernachlässigt.

[Ich habe für die Themenseite im Politikteil der Basler Zeitung eine Betrachtung zum Sportgeschäft und dem Wettbetrug geschrieben. Habe nicht zum ersten Mal darauf hingewiesen, dass mit der mediale Aufschrei immer etwas zu laut ist und es mir an Analyse fehlt, wenn über den Zugriff der Wettmafia berichtet wird. Denn das Sportgeschäft ist in weiten Teilen quasi mitschuldig an der Situation, weil die intransparenten, teils vorsintflutlichen Strukturen jedwede unsauberen Machenschaften begünstigen. Gewiss gibt es da beträchtliche Unterschiede etwa zwischen den herkömmlich als Verein notierten Weltverbänden und moderneren Unternehmen, wie etwa der DFL. Selbst zwischen DFL und DFB. Derlei Unterschiede müssten sauberer heraus gearbeitet werden – ich konzentriere mich mit ein paar Gedanken wie immer mehr auf den olympischen Sport, also das IOC und die 35 olympischen Weltverbände. Habe noch nicht mal die vielen hochrangigen Funktionäre erwähnt, die selbst im Glücksspiel- und Sportwettengeschäft tätig sind. Es ist eine Anregung, kann man alles besser ausarbeiten, wie immer, aber gewiss genug Stoff für eine sinnvolle Diskussion.]

Die Aufregung war groß, als die Europäische Kriminalbehörde Europol vorvergangene Woche alarmierende Zahlen zum globalen Wettbetrug im Fußballbusiness präsentierte. Von 680 verschobenen Spielen weltweit, 425 verdächtigen Spielern, Schiedsrichtern und Funktionären und vom „größten Betrug aller Zeiten“ war die Rede. Dabei hatte Europol-Direktor Rob Wainwright, der stets Kameras und Blitzlichter sucht, doch munter alte und neue Zahlen, aufgeklärte und unaufgeklärte Fälle vermengt – und Ermittler in aller Welt damit verärgert. Der Sinn dieser PR-Nummer erschloss sich nicht vollends. Die Sinnhaftigkeit eines koordinierten Kampfes gegen die Wettmafia ist aber gegeben, und zwar auf allen Ebenen.

https://youtube.com/watch?v=DH82kw3jJoo

Ja, die Wettpaten – ob nun aus Singapur, Thailand, China oder Südosteuropa –, sind eine Gefahr. Ja, die Welt ist klein geworden, moderne Kommunikationsmittel erleichtern Großganoven das Abkassieren. Nur: Das alles ist nicht neu. Das weiß man seit vielen Jahren. Das weiß man aus zahlreichen Prozessen, ob nun in Bochum oder im vergangenen Jahr in Bellinzona. Jenseits der Aufgeregtheiten des Tagesgeschäfts empfiehlt sich deshalb eine Analyse der Lage. Und die sollte mit zwei grundsätzlichen Beobachtungen beginnen.

„Bribes as salaries for sports leaders“

Mein Freund und Kollege Jens Sejer Andersen hat vergangene Woche an der Universität Antwerpen einen Vortrag zu einem ewig aktuellen (und derzeit wieder brandaktuellen) Thema gehalten, den ich gern veröffentliche. Es tauchen viele der üblichen Verdächtigen und alten Bekannten auf, ob nun der Handball-Pharao, Ruben Acosta oder Jean-Marie Weber. (Aus Zeitgründen muss ich leider weitgehend auf Verlinkungen verzichten, zu allen gibt es im Blog etliche Geschichten.)

Voilà:

The Magicians of Sport: How the Greatest Corruption Scandal in World Sport Vanished Before We Knew It Existed

By Jens Sejer Andersen

International Director and founder, Play the Game

Usually, I am a great admirer of magicians. People who can make elephants appear out of nowhere or escape from underwater cages hand-cuffed and wrapped in chains, really deserve respect.

There are, however, some magicians that we should beware of, and quite a few of them do their tricks in sport. I am not referring to artists like Lionel Messi or Justine Henin who can make unimaginable things with a ball. No, the magicians I would like to talk about are exercising their witchcraft more discreetly.

They do not seek our admiration over their skills. On the contrary: They shun the public eye so much that they have become experts in one aspect of magic: They know how to make us look in one direction while they do their work in the other direction, and more than that, when we look back we do not even notice something mysterious has happened.

Thanks to these magic abilities, a number of corruption scandals in the highest ranks of sports leadership continue to vanish, even before we realise that they actually exist.

Where were for instance your eyes looking in late June this year? I suppose that they, like mine, were directed at a flat screen TV to follow the last matches in the group stage of the FIFA world cup in South Africa.

Abracadabra! While we were staring on one of the greatest shows on earth, the biggest corruption scandal ever documented in sport disappeared out in the blue.

Did you notice?

If not, don’t feel ashamed. It was not meant for you to see.

While events in South Africa spellbound the world, a dry and formal sheet of paper was produced more than 8,000 kilometres away, by the public prosecutor in Zug, the Swiss canton in which FIFA resides.

On the 24 June, the prosecutor ended eight years of legal proceedings with a statement that put an end to the so-called ISL-affair.

Simultaneously, FIFA noted in a very brief media release “FIFA is pleased that the prosecutor of Zug has finalised his investigations?.

FIFA had reasons to be satisfied indeed. For although the Swiss prosecutor that day confirmed that FIFA officials had received millions of Swiss francs from the ISL company and kept them in their pockets, and that FIFA should pay a compensation of 5,5 million Swiss francss – around 4 million euros – things could have turned out much worse for football’s governing body.

The collapse of a marketing giant

For the ISL was no street vendor of services to FIFA. ISL stands for International Sport and Leisure and was from the early 1980’ies and until its collapse in 2001 by far the biggest sport marketing company in the world. It was founded by the Horst Dassler, whose family owned Adidas.

ISL bought TV and marketing rights from the international sports federations and the International Olympic Committee and re-sold them to media companies and private sponsors. Thanks to its close personal relations to FIFA and other big federations it became a driving force in the explosive commercialisation of elite sport.

However, even a booming company in a booming sector can make mistakes, and in 2001 the ISL collapsed because it had seriously overestimated the value of its products.

When the Swiss administrators took over the bankrupt ISL and started looking at the internal papers, they soon discovered some strange payments. In the first place, the liquidator of the company, Thomas Baur, found that at least 3,5 million Swiss francs (at the time 2,2 million euros) had been paid out in personal commissions and they started writing leading sports officials in order to get the money back.

And in 2004, Mr Bauer did get most of that money back. Not in many small portions, but on one big check of 2,5 million Swiss francs. It would of course be interesting where this sum came from and on behalf of which sports leaders it was paid back, but after hard work from a splendid Swiss lawyer, Peter Nobel – the Federal Court, the highest court in Switzerland, ruled that no names should be named.

Peter Nobel is not only an excellent player in the court room – a magician in his field you may say – he was also the man who issued the big check. And, coincidentally perhaps, he has for many years been the personal lawyer of Joseph S. Blatter, President of FIFA.

But this was only the beginning. Other parts of the Swiss justice had an interest in the ISL, and one investigative judge, Thomas Hildbrand, was particularly active, launching firstly one investigation into how six ISL-directors managed their affairs, and secondly another one into the relation between FIFA and the ISL.

138 million Swiss francs in kickbacks

In 2008, the court in the Swiss city of Zug concluded the first of these two cases, the proceedings against six former ISL directors for embezzling large portions of money belonging to FIFA. The legal case itself ended up with acquittals and mild sentences since the defendants could convince the judges that FIFA in reality had accepted the way ISL handled FIFA’s money.

But in the indictment a stunning revelation was brought forward and confirmed by the defendants in the court room:

Over 12 years, from 1989 to its bankruptcy in 2001, ISL handed out no less than 138 million Swiss francs – then 87 million euros – in personal commissions to sports leaders in order to get lucrative TV and marketing contracts.

The payments were channelled to the private pockets or bank accounts of high ranking sports leaders through an advanced system of secret funds in Liechtenstein and the British Virgin Islands. Some of the kickbacks were handed over personally by the top executive of the ISL, Jean-Marie Weber, who travelled around the world with a suitcase filled with cash.

Bribes as salaries for sports leaders

According to the defendant ISL directors, these payments were a normal and integral part of the daily sports business and a precondition if ISL wanted to sign contracts with their customers.

“I was told the company would not have existed if it had not made such payments,?

said former chief executive of the ISL Christoph Malms, and was backed the former director of finances, Hans-Jürg Schmid.

“It was like paying salaries. Otherwise they would have stopped working immediately?,

he said about the sports officials.

How come that the six directors admitted these secret personal commissions so freely? The answer is simple. In Switzerland this kind of kickbacks or bribes were not criminal until new anti-corruption legislation was passed in 2006.

And although the directors were quite open-mouthed, they did not risk their future career by dropping names in the court.

We only know that when ISL flourished, some of its most important customers besides FIFA were the ATP in tennis, IAAF in athletics, FINA in swimming, FIBA in basketball and for some years also the IOC.

You would perhaps expect that these organisations did react to the revelations in Zug by tracing corrupt sports leaders in their own ranks or at least distancing themselves publically from such malicious practices.

But no: From the international sports community there has only been one reaction to what is beyond comparison the biggest known corruption scandal in sport: Unanimous and complete silence.

After the verdicts in Zug 2008, there was still a hope: Perhaps the third and last criminal investigation could help us answer the simple question: Who took the bribes?

How much did they get each? – after all, 87 million euros is a lot of money, and not that many persons were in charge of TV and marketing contracts. Do these persons still hold important positions in sport?

Unfortunately, the end of the ISL affair this summer did not answer any of these questions.

The settlement does confirm what FIFA has long denied: That FIFA officials have taken millions of Swiss francs from the ISL in return for contracts. And it does oblige FIFA to pay back some of the money stolen from sport.

But even if we assume that all cheques have been paid by FIFA: 2,5 million Swiss francs to the liquidators, 5,5 million Swiss francs in the recent decision plus the costs of the legal procedure – we are still far from the impressing 138 million Swiss francs that went with the corruption. The financial balance is clearly in favour of those who cheated.

Before I go deeper into analysing the mechanisms that allow such a huge scandal to run almost unnoticed by the world public, one more important question arises from the ISL case:

Is the magic over?

Did corruption in sports organisations die with the ISL in 2001, and is the buying and selling of TV and marketing rights now a clean business?

No answers given at Olympic congress

I raised this question during a session about “Good governance and ethichs? at the Olympic Congress in Copenhagen last year where over 1,200 high ranking sports officials gathered to discuss the challenges to sport. The answer from the moderator, Youssoupha Ndiaye from the IOC Ethics Commission, was easy to understand:

“The panel does not answer questions?.

To be fair, the audience was quite amused by that response. Well, perhaps not all – probably not the man sitting a few rows from me, Jean-Marie Weber, the man who once travelled the world with a suitcase full of money.

I do not know which tasks the elegant Weber had at the Olympic Congress, but it cost the IOC President Rogge some sweat explaining Weber’s presence. It was apparently not the IOC itself that had invited him, but to get an accreditation through the strict security measures of that meeting you had to have very good connections in the so-called Olympic family of sport.

Der Fußball und der böse Dämon

Ich weiß nicht wirklich, warum die Meldungen über 200 manipulierte Fußballspiele – vor allem in Richtung Balkan, aber auch in unterklassigen deutschen Ligen – derartige Schlagzeilen machen, wogegen andere Meldungen über system­imma­nente Korruption im Sport oft untergehen. Hat tatsächlich jemand geglaubt, nach der Hoyzer-Affäre werde es mit rechten Dingen zu gehen? Das ist nur mal so eine Frage.

Aber Medien funktionieren so wie sie funktionieren, also auch hysterisch. Wenn das Fußballbusiness betroffen ist, das einzig wahre und reine, wenn der Dämon des Bösen mal wieder die unschuldige Branche der Fairplaybewahrer überfällt, dann ist das automatisch ein Skandal. Selbst wenn es das Tagesgeschäft ist.

[Nachtrag, 20.54 Uhr, weil der Beginn doch etwas sehr launisch geriet: Die Zusammenarbeit verschiedener Polizeibehörden und der UEFA über etliche Monate hat schon eine beeindruckende neue Qualität. Ähnliche Aktionen – auch in dieser, nun ja: Schnelligkeit – wünschte ich mir mal im Dopinggeschäft und in Fällen anderer grenzübergreifender Korruption im Sport. Da wäre sicherlich viel zu holen. Kaum auszudenken.]

Sepp, zu Gast bei Putin: „I am really glad that you greet me as a friend“

Mein Freund Joseph Blatter hatte vergangene Woche in Kopenhagen schon erzählt, dass er einen Termin bei Wladimir Putin hat. So war ich ganz gespannt zu erfahren, was die Präsidenten im Weißen Haus besprochen haben – und wurde vom Informationsdienst der russischen Regierung einmal mehr nicht enttäuscht. So stellt man sich das vor in einer Demokratie. Ich weiß nur nicht, ob Sepp dem Wladimir, wie zuvor dem Barack, auch Tickets für die WM in Südafrika angeboten hat und wie sich das – sollte es so gewesen sein – mit den strengen FIFA-Ethikregelen verträgt. Ich weiß auch nicht, ob Sepp diesmal wieder andere Unbekannte getroffen hat und/oder ob er mit Putin über die Gründung der WACA gesprochen hat. Egal, für heute, Lesebefehl – das Transkript, es lohnt sich:

Wladimir Putin: Mr Blatter, dear friend, I am very glad to see you in Moscow. In Moscow and Russia, your work in the post of FIFA president is very well known.

I have to say that the popularity of football is growing in Russia. I cannot, however, say that our team is doing all of what the country’s fans expect of it, but the development of football is generally on the upswing all the same.

In general, we have a good national team with good potential. What is more important is that we have a program for the development of football to the year 2015. Corresponding federal funds have been allocated and the regions are also allocating funds.  Before the end of this year, we plan to build 600 new pitches, including indoor pitches.

You, of course, know that we have decided to officially submit our application to host the World Cup in 2018. We wanted to inform you about this today. A week ago, on October 9, I signed an executive order in order to make this process more official.

Joseph Blatter (as translated): Let me first wish you a happy birthday. Once again, happy birthday!

Mr President, I am very glad about our meeting today; it’s a great honour for me. I am really glad that you greet me as a friend and let me do the same. We have been acquainted for several years in various capacities. I want to tell you that as before, you remain „Mr President“ to me and so accordingly I have addressed you as such.

You said that I am well-known in Russia. Let me answer that by saying that you are well-known around the world. In any case, in every country I visit. Everywhere in the football world, people talk about Russia and about you.

I must say that in Russia there really is a lot being done for the development of football and we value this. Evidence of this is the fact that the president of the Russian Football Union is now a Russian government official. And this did not give us pause. As they say, success goes hand-in-hand with success.

As for the national team – I think that the Russian team will still make it to South Africa. But if it doesn’t happen on the first try in the first round, there’s always the second try in the second round. There are two more games ahead. And with such a team and the whole nation behind them, I am confident that you will succeed.

Wladimir Putin: I hope so.

Joseph Blatter: Of course, I would like to be able to say that I also hope se, but there is the principle of neutrality, which I must observe.

Mr Prime Minister, let me take this opportunity to express gratitude for the Russian government and the Russian Football Union deciding to officially submit an application to host the World Cup in 2018. Regardless of what anyone says about, say, the Olympic Games, this is the world’s main event, the foremost event, Event Number One. Football is football.

Today, over the course of the day, I had the opportunity to familiarise myself with the progress of Russia’s preparations to host the World Cup. And let me take this opportunity to explain my football philosophy. I think that the world football championship, the World Cup within the framework of FIFA must leave a legacy. And just such a concept is being realised here in Russia. So the Russian application gives rise to my most earnest sympathy.

Mr Prime Minister, I am very glad that preparations for the World Cup are now being done on a regional level and are proportionally distributed across all of Russia. You mentioned this yourself and also noted that football isn’t just a game. Indeed, many other things relate to it, such as all of the logistical support – the streets, railroads and all infrastructure. Not only just the stadiums. Consequently, all of this, of course, will remain in Russia and will be of use to its people.

I would also like to mention the great socio-cultural significance of football and it popularity among youth. Football is really a game that motivates the entire world. And it seems to me that this particularly pronounced in Russia.

It should be recognized that things aren’t going so well in the world, although the economic crisis has relented a little bit. But in order to overcome it, we, of course, need positive emotions and hopes. This is exactly what football could give.

And on a more personal note – since we’re talking about the crisis, let me congratulate you with signing the major agreement with China yesterday.

I would also like to mention the commonality in life philosophy that you and I share. Like you, I am very attached to my mother and I wear her locket. And when I once asked you whether you would like to be rich, you said, „I am already rich, I have a rich emotional life and rich feelings.“

Getting back to football – of course, it’s great that Russia has such a large construction programme for football. This is not only football pitches, but roofed stadiums. Of course, it is very good that youth is lure off the streets and into sport facilities where come to know a game based on respect and discipline. It may be said that football is the school of life. A person who plays football may not become the best footballer, but he will become a better person.

Akklamation? Nein. Jacques Rogge lässt sich zum IOC-Präsidenten wählen

[caption id="attachment_5542" align="aligncenter" width="549"]IOC-Präsidentenwahl 2009, Thomas Bach beim Stimmen zählen Thomas Bach (2. von links, natürlich) schreibt seinen Namen… (Screenshot IOC-TV)[/caption]

Ich denke mal, in diese Lage wird das UDIOCM (FDP) nie wieder kommen. Thomas Bach hat gerade dieses Wahlprotokoll unterschrieben, obgleich es doch viel spannender gewesen wäre, wenn einer – er zum Beispiel – gegen den Alleinkandidaten angetreten wäre:

Umfrage unter Top-Funktionären (4): Braucht der Sport eine Welt-Anti-Korruptions-Agentur?

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ft0bVPkwNro

Es sprach übrigens gerade Willem-Alexander Claus George Ferdinand van Oranje-Nassau, Prinz von Oranien, Prinz der Niederlande, Prinz von Oranien-Nassau, Herr von Amsberg. Danke.

Hier also Teil 4 dieser erlesenen Videoreihe. An der Fragestellung hat sich nichts geändert. Gleichwohl nimmt die Bereitschaft prozentual ab, die einfache offene Frage zu beantworten:

  • Does sport need a World-Anti-Corruption-Agency?
  • Braucht der Sport eine Welt-Anti-Korruptions-Agentur?