Tuesday, September 26, 2006

More FIFA Corruption

The race for the most corrupt FIFA official is starting to heat up. Just when I thought Austin 'Jack' Warner had a lock on it, he's now getting some serious competition from a neighbor to the south.

The President of South America's soccer federation and FIFA executive committee member Nicolás Leoz has been accused of receiving bribes from FIFA's former marketing partner related to the acquisition of television rights.

The Guardian of London broke the report on the Swiss investigation.

Nicolás Leoz, a Fifa executive committee member and long-serving president of Conmebol, the South American football confederation, is said to have been sent bribes totaling SFr211,625 (£90,000 {or $170,500}) in two separate payments in January and May 2000.

The money was paid by an entity linked to ISMM, the collapse of which in 2001 left a major hole in Fifa's finances. When contacted by the Guardian Leoz expressed surprise and said he had no connection with the companies in question.

ISMM was in charge of the 2002 and 2006 World Cup TV distribution rights, excluding Europe and the US.

The report made clear that no Swiss officials, including FIFA President Sepp Blatter, were involved in the fraud.

FIFA would not comment on this latest embarrassment, however, if they follow the same path as they did with Warner, expect them to launch a full all attack on those making the accusations while making sure Leoz is charged by his piers, ie Jack Warner.

Also, expect this investigation not to be turned over to the new independent investigation wing of FIFA since the events took place before the creation of the investigation wing. I mean you can't change the rules in the middle of the game. These people didn't know they had to cover their trail against an independent investigator. It's like using DNA evidence to prove a crime from 1987, it just isn't fair to the criminal.


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