Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: 2002 Winter Olympic Games, Amos Adamu, Argentina, Auckland, CONCACAF, Executive Committee, FIFA, GoUSABid, Jack Warner, Julio Grondona, Mohamed bin Hammam, Nigeria, Oceania Football Confederation, Qatar, Reynald Temarii, Salt Lake City, Tahiti, The Sunday Times of London, Trinidad & Tobago, World Cup
FIFA has provisionally suspended two Executive Committee members in the wake of an alleged World Cup vote-selling scam.
Amos Adamu of Nigeria and Reynald Temarii of Tahiti, along with four former Executive Committee members, have been barred from soccer-related activities until a probe by the FIFA ethics committee is completed.
Adamu and Temarii were caught in a videotaped sting staged by The Sunday Times of London. Posing as representatives of American corporate interests, the Times team offered to buy Adamu’s World Cup vote. Adamu requested $800,000 for four artificial-turf soccer fields to be built in Nigeria–paid not to his national soccer federation but directly to him. Temarii, president of the Oceania Football Confederation, had a slightly higher price tag: $2.3 million, ostensibly to fund a soccer academy in Auckland, New Zealand. [October 20]
Comment: So two more men wearing the FIFA blazer have been found to be, allegedly, corrupt. They join a long list that includes CONCACAF supremo Jack Warner of Trinidad & Tobago and Mohamed bin Hammam of Qatar (World Cup ticket scalping) and FIFA Senior Vice President Julio Grondona of Argentina (TV rights scandals). Some of this new mud, however, may splatter and soil the U.S. bid for 2022.
It should be noted that the Times‘ sting was executed at a time when the U.S. and England were each bidding for both the 2018 and 2022 World Cups. If the Times was attempting to scuttle the American bid, it has since become moot with the recent announcements that the U.S. would shoot for 2022 only, the English, ’18.
Nevertheless, neither Adamu nor Temarii recoiled in shock when presented with the Times’ bribe offers. That speaks volumes of what the world thinks of what the U.S. is capable of in a high stakes game like the right to host a World Cup, an event in which billions of dollars change hands. Americans don’t win World Cups, but whenever they play anything, they play to win. And in the international sports community, the stench from Salt Lake City’s efforts to secure the 2002 Winter Olympic Games still lingers.
Aspersions have been cast. The efforts of GoUSAbid, based to this point on an overwhelming attack, may now be determined by its ability to hunker down and defend.