Posts Tagged ‘Russia’

FIFA advisers urge support for Garcia probe to resolve allegations about Qatar World Cup bid

FIFA advisers urge support for Garcia probe to resolve allegations about Qatar World Cup bid

GENEVA FIFA’s reputation depends on resolving allegations about Qatar’s selection as the 2022 World Cup host, according to the governing body’s anti corruption advisers.

The expert panel chaired by Swiss law professor Mark Pieth gave its full support on Wednesday to a FIFA investigation of the 2018 and 2022 World Cup votes, led by ethics prosecutor Michael Garcia.

“The ethics committee should not rest until there is a conclusive answer,” Pieth wrote in a report to FIFA board members, some of whom agitated last month to remove Garcia from the case.

“If FIFA is to emerge from the scandals of recent years it must now produce a convincing and transparent answer to any issues relating to hosting decisions, either to confirm that the suspicions are, sadly, well founded or to demonstrate that they are groundless,” the report said.

The comments were published in Pieth’s 15 page final report to the FIFA executive committee, which voted for Qatar and Russia as World Cup hosts in December 2010.

After FIFA President Sepp Blatter promised to reform the scandal hit governing body in 2011, the board appointed Pieth to lead the Independent Governance Committee advisory group which insisted on creating an independent ethics court to tackle corruption.

“This explicitly included allegations in relation to World Cup hosting decisions and the IGC singled out this issue including the decision to award the tournament to Qatar as one that required further investigation,” Pieth wrote on Wednesday. Attorney and Interpol vice president.

“The IGC’s view was that only appointing a competent and experienced professional outsider to this role would enable FIFA fearlessly to investigate allegations of corruption at the heart of FIFA,” Pieth said. “FIFA and all involved individuals must therefore fully and unconditionally co operate with Mr. Garcia’s investigation.”

Moves to disrupt Garcia’s probe were revealed by reformist board members who joined FIFA’s hierarchy after the controversial World Cup vote.

Garcia reportedly upset some of the 13 voters who remain in office by arriving unannounced in Zurich to quiz them during a week of committee meetings.

The American lawyer and his investigating team are also seeking interviews worldwide with people who worked for the nine World Cup bid candidates, and offered anonymity to whistleblowers who had evidence of wrongdoing.

Garcia is expected to report this year to the ethics panel’s judging chamber led by Joachim Eckert of Germany, which will decide any sanctions.

“If allegations are confirmed, FIFA must ensure that the consequences are meaningful,” Pieth wrote.

The Qatar 2022 organizing committee has denied repeated allegations of wrongdoing linked to its well funded bid.

After fresh allegations last month implicating disgraced former FIFA board members Mohamed bin Hammam of Qatar and Jack Warner from Trinidad and Tobago, World Cup officials in the Gulf kingdom distanced them as “private individuals.”

Britain’s Daily Telegraph claimed Warner and his family were paid almost $2 million from a company controlled by Bin Hammam. One request for $1.2 million was dated December 2010.

Then, Bin Hammam and Warner presided over two of football’s six continental confederations, with a combined 41 years’ service on FIFA’s board.

The “circumstances raising a suspicion that the payments were corrupt and were made in connection with the successful Qatar bid to host the World Cup in 2022 are a good example of the importance of the creation of professional and independently led functions, such as the ethics committee,” Pieth’s report stated.

Summing up progress toward building public trust and being more transparent, Pieth’s group praises FIFA for reaching “important milestones,” including appointing Garcia, Eckert and compliance overseer Domenico Scala.

Still, the report highlights unfinished business and questions if some football leaders, including in Europe, truly want to change their “longtime privileges and well functioning networks.”

FIFA should publish salaries and bonuses, and the IGC still wants two independent outsiders to join the executive committee with voting rights. The 209 FIFA member countries will also vote on age and term limits, at a June 11 meeting in Sao Paulo, Brazil.

Having lost a battle which let confederations vet their own election candidates for integrity, Pieth hopes FIFA “strictly monitors their implementation and sanctions non compliance.”

FIFA World Cup 2014 Doubts Spread for Brazil

FIFA World Cup 2014 Doubts Spread for Brazil

The FIFA World Cup 2014 is just under three years away. Today’s announcement revealed what will follow the FIFA World Cup 2014, as Russia and Qatar will follow in Brazil’s footsteps. Both Russia and Qatar are celebrating, as they are about to get massive exposure and attention. However, that can also be a curse if they struggle to get everything up and running. Brazil can attest to that, as today’s announcement has helped highlight their continuing problems. According to Times LIVE, the Brazilians are having a hard time completing work on their 12 venues. They not only have to get them ready for 2014, but also for the 2013 FIFA Confederation Cup. Therefore, the deadline has to be December 2012.

If these worries are true, then the World Cup 2014 could start to look iffy. Choosing Brazil as the host was a risk to begin with, even though their team is the most decorated in soccer history. Not only is the nation consumed with preparing for the soccer tournaments, they also must get ready for the 2016 Summer Olympics.

Russia became the second nation to host the World Cup and the Olympics in the same decade, as they now hold the 2014 Winter Games and the 2018 Cup. Yet they will have more time in between events than Brazil does, as they must pull off the Confederation Cup, the World Cup and Summer Games within four years.

The centerpiece of Brazil’s struggle is the Maracana Stadium, which is undergoing a $400 million renovation. If they can get that finished in time, and up to code, then the rest may fall into place. But even if the venues are eventually finished, it may not fix their other overriding concerns.

With the strain on Brazilian airports, the criminal gangs in Rio de Janeiro, and 2 million Rio residents in shantytowns, the World Cup could still go wrong in many ways. After Russia and Qatar got to be the next in line today, the concerns of Brazil are under a more glaring spotlight than ever.

Hosting an event like this is never easy, let alone hosting three major competitions in four years. Brazil is clearly under a lot of pressure, with time running shorter and shorter. Since half of the host cities just started in June, FIFA is insisting that they ramp things up. The 2011 Women’s FIFA World Cup will be held in Germany.

Qatar win race to host World Cups as FIFA spreads its vision

Qatar win race to host World Cups as FIFA spreads its vision

Qatar won the right to host the 2022 tournament ahead of bids from the United States, South Korea, Japan and Australia.Russian prime minister Vladimir Putin decided against attending the ceremony in Zurich, but his deputy Igor Shuvalov was present to accept the first successful bid from Eastern Europe.Has FIFA gambled with World Cup decisions?”You have entrusted us with the FIFA World Cup for 2018 and I can promise that you will never regret it. Let us make history together,” Shuvalov told the assembled delegates.Putin later flew to Zurich to address the world’s assembled media.”This sport makes a positive difference 2018 will be fantastic,” the former Russian president said.”We will build new stadiums and do our best to make the World Cup safe and enjoyable for everyone. We will allow all football fans to enter the country without a visa in order to enjoy the tournament and to get to know Russia and its history and culture.”Sheikh Mohammed bin Hamad Al Thani, the son of Qatar’s emir and head of the emirate’s bid team, said he was looking forward to the first time a Middle Eastern nation hosts the event.”Thank you for believing in change, for expanding the game and for giving Qatar a chance. You will be proud of us and you will be proud of the Middle East. I promise you this,” he said.Qatar’s World Cup visionFIFA president Sepp Blatter confirmed that the ruling body’s desire to grow the sport around the world played a big part in the committee’s thinking.”I have to say thanks to the executive committee because for 2018 and 2022 we go to new lands, because the FIFA World Cup has never been in eastern Europe or the Middle East. So, I’m a happy president when we speak of the development of football,” he said.”But I have to give big compliments to all the bidders for the big job they have done and the messages they have delivered. All have delivered the message that football is more than just a game. Football is not only about winning it is also a school of life where you must learn to lose, and that is not easy.”We are not corrupt, insists FIFA officialCNN’s Moscow based correspondent Matthew Chance said the decision had been received with great jubilation in Russia, where the government has pledged billions of dollars to build new stadiums and infrastructure.It has already begun preparing to host the Winter Olympics in Sochi in 2014.”This is a huge boom for the Russian economy it is going to mean tens of billions of dollars put into infrastructure and will give the country the incentive they need to meet their modernization plans,” he reported.”There is also a huge emotional pull for the people of this country. It is very intriguing the tactics used from the Russians to secure the bid. England’s bid had prime minister David Cameron and David Beckham to give it the celebrity X factor, but Putin just stayed in Russia to wait for the result of the vote.”Qatar’s victory came despite several obstacles being flagged up in FIFA technical report before the vote, including the region’s intense heat at the time the tournament will be held in June July and a lack of existing infrastructure.CNN Arabic”Logistics were talked about, but Qatar said we can do that, we will build enough hotels, enough stadiums,” CNN’s Sara Sidner reported from Doha after the announcement.”The feeling here is a sense of achievement, the sense that Qatar is an important country. People here are very proud. There was a little bit of surprise they could just not believe that Qatar was called, but there were some very big cheers.”When you look at Qatar as a country, it has a small population and most are ex pats, but there a lot of fans here. They believe people will come here, they will have plenty of facilities and they will have the climate conditioned and they will put on a fantastic show.”They are saying that people do not need to be afraid we are going to open up to the world and the world should open up to us.”