The indictment, the latest in the long-running US prosecution of football officials for alleged corruption, accuses Nicolás Leoz, the Paraguayan then president of Conmebol, South American football’s governing body, and the former Brazil federation president Ricardo Teixeira of being paid bribes to vote for Qatar at the decisive Fifa executive committee (exco) meeting in December 2010. A third then very senior member of the exco under the former president Sepp Blatter, who is not named but is identifiable as Julio Grondona, the then president of Argentina’s FA, is also accused of being paid to vote for Qatar, but Grondona, who died in 2014, was never criminally charged. … [Read more...] about World Cup likely to stay in Qatar despite new bribery accusations in US
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The bid mounted by the tiny Gulf state of Qatar to project itself globally by hosting the World Cup was lavish, promoted by the ruling emir and his son, and used the facilities of the country’s Aspire academy, but Garcia did not conclude that Fifa votes were bought. He accepted the position of the official Qatar 2022 bid, which it has repeatedly stated in public, that the disgraced Qatari football official Mohamed bin Hammam, who did make corrupt payments, was not connected to the bid itself. Garcia also concluded that a series of payments Bin Hammam made to officials of African football federations were not related to the Qatar 2022 bid, but more likely to his own bid to oppose Blatter in Fifa’s 2011 presidential election. … [Read more...] about Michael Garcia’s Fifa report eases Russia and Qatar World Cup fears
When Steele reported his findings, members of the bid team were predictably alarmed. England was doomed, Steele felt certain; it was never going to beat a country like Russia, which was clearly prepared to do anything to avoid a humiliating defeat on the world stage. But the former spy then had a second thought. The information he had been developing on Russia and Fifa was highly specific, but also unique and potentially valuable – perhaps extremely so. It would be a shame to see it go to waste. And it just so happened that Steele could think of another potential client for that information: the FBI. … [Read more...] about How Russia won the World Cup
Asked specifically about Qatar, he said: “The ILO has recently put out an assessment in which they put off a decision for a year. They didn’t want to shut the door. The next ILO report will be absolutely critical. If it says six to seven years later that no progress has been made then that’s pretty clear.” … [Read more...] about Fifa faces ‘tough decision’ over Qatar World Cup if human rights abuses continue
So, what’s happening? Why are so many high-profile players jumping off board? Well, firstly, players remember what happened to Paul George in the lead-up to the last World Cup. In 2014, the forward, then with the Indiana Pacers, suffered a gruesome compound leg fracture during a scrimmage that cost him an entire season. George eventually regained his MVP-caliber form, but the incident did show the risk that players take when they agree to play additional games. It’s bad enough when injuries happen during the regular season and postseason, but it’s far more painful when they occur in a tournament which might as well be a glorified exhibition as far as NBA teams are concerned. … [Read more...] about Why are NBA superstars shunning Team USA at the World Cup?