Nearly a decade after Russia and Qatar won hosting duties for the 2018 and 2022 World Cups in controversial fashion, the U.S Department of Justice outright said what has since been well-established in an indictment released Monday.
Prosecutors plainly said that several FIFA executives received bribes to give the World Cup to Russia and Qatar. Specifically, Brazil’s Ricardo Teixeira and Paraguay’s Nicolas Leoz allegedly receives bribes to vote for Qatar, while Trinidad and Tobago’s Jack Warner and Guatemala’s Rafael Salguero voted for Russia.
Leoz was president of South America’s CONMEBOL confederation at the time, while Warner headed CONCACAF in North America. Warner allegedly received $5 million in bribes, while Salguero was promised $1 million.
There might not be a single person left in the soccer world that is shocked by this, but it’s still quite something to see the U.S. Department of Justice say it in official court documents.
Even FIFA itself has implicitly admitted votes were bought back in 2010. By the New York Times’ count, more than half of the 22 voters in the Qatar vote have since been accused of or charged with corruption, though not all of it pertains to the 2010 vote.
Federal prosecutors made their move against FIFA back in 2015, indicting 14 soccer officials and marketing executives with racketeering, wire fraud and money laundering conspiracies. That fight continues to this day, with indictments against former FOX executives for allegedly making bribes to obtain key bidding information for the World Cup’s lucrative broadcasting rights.
The 2022 World Cup remains scheduled to kick off on Nov. 21, because playing in the summer would have been too hot, despite what Qatar insisted during the bidding process. At least those extra months should help ensure an extensive building process that may or may not use slave labor will be finished.
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