Sport

FBI Now Investigating Award of World Cup to Russia, Qatar

Barely a day after the resignation of Sepp Blatter as head of FIFA, the United States made it known that it was now actively examining how world football’s governing body awarded the 2018 and 2022 World Cup hosting rights to Russia and Qatar respectively, a United States regulation enforcement official said on Thursday.

The Federal Bureau of Investigation is also looking at the relationship between FIFA secretary general Jerome Valcke and Ricardo Teixeira, former president of the Brazilian Football Federation and head of the 2014 World Cup Organising Committee, according to a report in the Brazilian newspaper Estado de Sao Paulo.

The report also said American investigators are looking at any possible wrongdoing by FIFA and Texeira. The FBI is examining the contracts for the 2014 World Cup between FIFA, its business partners and suppliers.

Russia and Qatar have denied wrongdoing in the conduct of their bids for the 2018 and 2022 tournaments. The FBI is also scrutinising the stewardship of FIFA by Sepp Blatter, the US regulation enforcement official, who spoke on condition of anonymity, told forbeslist.net.

Soon after the FBI arrested FIFA officials in Zurich, Switzerland on the eve of a crucial FIFA election which Blatter went on to win, Russian President Vladimir Putin had accused the US of trying to take the hosting rights of the 2018 World Cup away Russia.

Former FIFA executive committee member and American citizen Chuck Blazer testified in a US court on Wednesday that he and others in the governing body agreed to accept bribes in bidding for the 1998 and 2010 World Cups and other tournaments.

Valcke and Texeira are both suspected of financial crimes and involvement in fraud related to football. The FBI is focussing on the relationship between Valcke and Teixeira and possible deals between them. The US Justice Department has not confirmed the development.

Valcke is at the centre of the corruption scandal after a letter addressed to him by the South African government relating to a $10 million payment to the indicted former FIFA vice-president Jack Warner surfaced. He has denied the allegations and is not under indictment and prosecutors have not accused him of corrupt behaviour.

Recent Brazilian media reports have said Valcke’s son, Sebastian, has been working for the Brazilian Football Federation since last September as a marketing consultant.

Morales wants footballer to head FIFA

b408632a3223709dd82a03509665a075Meanwhile, Bolivian President Evo Morales on Thursday proposed several football legends, including Diego Maradona, as potential candidates to lead world football’s governing body FIFA.

Any new FIFA chief should emerge from among football legends Portugal’s Luis Figo, Frenchman Michel Platini and Zinedine Zidane, or Argentina’s Maradona, Morales said on Wednesday, reports Xinhua.

The current president of the International Federation of Association Football (FIFA), Joseph Blatter announced on Tuesday he will be stepping down in the wake of bribery scandals that have led to the arrest so far of seven high-level former and active officials.

“The new leaders must be footballers, former World Cup winners,” Morales said here.

Morales has also called on the head of the Bolivian Football Federation (FBF), Carlos Chavez, to resign.

“Carlos Chavez should resign for the good of football. It is the obligation, the enormous responsibility of athletes to transform the structure of football,” he said.

Chavez is being investigated in Bolivia for allegedly accepting a bribe of $1.5 to $7.5 million. He has denied any wrongdoing.

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