In its usual format, the United States of America took actions decades ago to investigate FIFA, the body charged with governing football. The investigations are now being likened to being a geopolitical disaster recipe.
Corrupt officials are equally hated around the world, and the investigations translate to possible ramifications to the rest of the football world. Below are some problems that will rock the footballing world:
Incumbent President Sepp Blatter
The three decade-long investigations have seen the indictment of nine FIFA officials just last week. The nine officials were indicted last week after it was certified that they took $150 million in bribes as they were awarding FIFA broadcasting rights.
The scandal invited in a Swiss investigation targeting the 2018 Russia World Cup bidding and also the 2022 Qatar World Cup bidding. After the revelation of the above events, FIFA president who had just won a re-election resigned from his post.
Sepp Blatter is being accused of taking advantage of FIFA money that would have been used to help promote football in poor nations to win over voters. The scandal will hit Sepp Blatter big since FIFA has accumulated over $6 billion in the last four years alone, and this is a huge chunk of money.
The African Continent
Every single nation in the 209 FIFA member nations is eligible to cast a single vote to elect FIFA’s president. The voting system accords smaller countries a humongous amount of power and a small country such as Lesotho has a vote weight similar to a vote cast by a big economy such as Germany.
Immediately after news broke that the DOJ (Department of Justice) was investigating FIFA, the 54 state member of the African Bloc quickly confirmed their support for Blatter.
There are African countries that have more guilt than others. Investigators from the United States accuse South Africa of having parted with $10 million to secure the right to play host to the 2010 World Cup. After spending $4.6 billion on preparing for hosting the sport, the event only netted $500 for South Africa.
As it was also witnessed in the 2014 World Cup event in Brazil, hosting the World Cup and other major football events is expensive and never pays off economically.
Some countries such as Russia are happy to part with the huge costs of hosting FIFA based tournaments just to gain the prestige that comes with playing host. The Russian government for one is more than ecstatic to foot the bill that comes in the wake of the distractions from these tournaments.
Case in point, The Kremlin as happy as it is with playing host nation to the world cup, its economy isn’t favouring their choice. Oil prices that are highly depended upon by Moscow have gone down by 48% since June 2014.
The ruble has lost its value as from the start of 2014 and moreover, sanctions from Western nations have seen food prices more than triple. It’s inevitable that Vladimir Putin parts with the coin to win the World Cup 2018 hosting privilege to boost the country’s morale, investment and tourism.
Russia is spending $20 billion in public works and preparing stadiums readying for the World Cup event. After Russia, there is a possibility that the rules will be toughened to avoid any more money paid to FIFA as a bribe by countries.
Given the wake of the scandal, the 2022 World Cup events are a whole other thing altogether. Qatar is so heavily invested in hosting the World Cup that after news broke of Sepp Blatter being considered as a possible suspect into bribery allegations, stock market prices there dropped by 3%.
Qatar is dead set to spend over $200 billion in twelve years to upgrade infrastructure and build stadiums. The findings from the on-going investigation would mean that Qatar could be spending all the money for nothing as they could lose the right of playing the host nation for the 2022 World Cup!
The investigation embarked by the Swiss could also be an indication of looming trouble for the Qatarians. Swiss prosecutors are claiming to have unearthed emails that prove Russia and Qatar supported one another’s bids and a strong indication that bribery was involved.
In retrospect, Qatar needed all the help it would get as it is a nation whose temperatures average 105° in June and carries a very strict no alcohol policy. It may not exactly be a country that translates to football fan’s paradise.
Hosting an international sports event especially the world’s most popular sport football, is an enormous task for the Gulf nation. The country is alleged to have gone to extreme lengths to ensure that they won the bid to pay homage to the 2022 World Cup event.
The ‘extreme measures’ are what the Swiss investigations are trying to uncover, and if it comes out that the Qatar government did bribe its way to the bid, then things would get thick. Such a discovery could hugely impact the country’s economy and current spending, a situation that the country is trying to avoid.
Given the sensitivity of the whole FIFA scandal; it’s rather surprising to see how much the world is absorbing the United States perusal of FIFA’s deepest secrets. Maybe the reason is the fact that only 6% of the American citizens are considered to be soccer fanatics.
The fact being that the majority of Americans don’t care about football makes Washington and America’s Department Of Justice a favourable investigator into the FIFA scandal. It’s unrealistic to think that organizations including FIFA can remain separate from politics, especially when it’s a body given a mandate by the world to oversee the favourite sport.
Again, given the organization’s constitution, no sovereign power monitors it, and the members are left to govern themselves. That clause makes it possible for countries to conduct investigations on sensitive activities that also involve other countries.
The bottom line is, however, that the investigations will uncover the scandal at FIFA. The world will finally get to know how the sums of money collected to champion activities is divided among the members of the organization.
Sepp Blatter and other members of the organization could end up facing fines, penalties and possible jail time as the investigations into the world governing football body proceed.
This article was written by John Hawthorne. John who is a sports writer and analyst and has always liked the idea of the World Cup, thinking that such a grand spectacle that brings people together from virtually every part of the world had a certain magic to it. After these allegations of fraud and bribery however it has slipped far from the graces it once had. John will be keenly waiting for more news about this and other sporting events as his profession counts on it. To see some of John more analytical work regarding sports such as Baseball take a look at this MLB betting system.