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July 2014

Corruption around the

World Cup

Adidas has added their voice to the growing number of FIFA sponsors voicing their concern about the corruption allegations against board members.

“As a FIFA partner, we expect these allegations to be investigated appropriately. We continue to expect FIFA to adhere to its principles of integrity, ethics and fair play across all aspects of its operations.”

The brand is FIFA’s longest partner and recently renewed their sponsorship of the football governing body until 2030. They now join other FIFA sponsors Visa and Sony in demanding that the bribery claims be taken seriously.

This follows renewed allegations that the Qatar bid to host the 2022 FIFA World Cup was won by bribing board members. FIFA’s ethics committee is currently investigating allegations of corruption during the voting for the hosting of the 2022 and 2018 World Cups. Russia was awarded the 2018 bid.

“The negative tenor of the public debate around FIFA at the moment is neither good for football nor for FIFA and its partners,” adidas said in a statement.

FIFA-appointed chief investigator Michael Garcia has to report his findings to the adjudicatory chamber of FIFA’s ethics committee in July “with findings then released publicly in due course. We are confident that the matter is being dealt with as a priority,” continues the statement.

In his latest book, Omertà — Sepp Blatter’s FIFA Organised Crime Family, crusader-journalist Andrew Jennings chronicles the investigations of bribery and corruption leading up to the latest scandal.

For years a thorn in the flesh of FIFA and the IOC with articles, books and TV programmes documenting shady deals, Jennings tells a tale of how a gang of FIFA officials got away with pocketing obscene amounts of bribe and sponsorship money meant for the good of the game. The book also explained how corruption revelations in a Panorama TV programme and Jennings’ articles led to the sacking of some Brazilian officials ... and why their replacements are still not popular. It also explains why soccer stars like Romario are campaigning with rioters against the millions spent on the 2014 FIFA World Cup in Brazil.

Some of the chapters in the book, written in Jennings’ pull-no-punches style are: Confronting the mafia in Palermo, tracking them to FIFA in Zurich, following the crime trail to Rio; Transforming FIFA into an empire of racketeering and organising vast contract kickbacks; Havelange’s successor Sepp Blatter changes FIFA’s Ethics Code so his hired investigators cannot catch him; Germany’s bribes for 2006 World Cup stab Mandela in the back; etc. and a bonus chapter — Rio, bribes and 2016 Olympics.

Jennings is an award-winning journalist who has written exposé’s about the actual Sicilian Mafia and then turned his attention to the IOC and president Juan Antonio Samaranch’s fascist activities, which earned him a 5-day suspended jail sentence, and FIFA boss Sepp Blatter, which resulted in him becoming the only reporter banned from FIFA press conferences since 2003.

His numerous journalism awards include the Play the Game Award, which he shared with Jens Weinreich in 2011, for “bringing mismanagement and corruption in the world's leading sports organisations into public view”.

He regularly publishes articles on corruption in sporting bodies — mainly FIFA — on his blog, and due to the accuracy of his sources and well-documented material (mostly secret) has never been sued successfully.

Jennings’ book, FOUL! — the Secret World of Fifa; Bribes, Vote Rigging and Ticket Scandals, published in 2006, has been translated into 15 languages and Sports Illustrated selected it as one of the top 100 sports books of all time. He has also written three books about corruption in the Olympics and made TV programmes for the BBC’s Panorama — for example, FIFA's Dirty Secrets, broadcast in 2010, exposing corruption allegations against some FIFA executive committee members.


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