Tag: 2022 World Cup

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FIFA judges explain 7-year ban for 2018-2022 bid inspector

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ZURICH (AP) The 2018 and 2022 World Cup bid inspector was banned from soccer for seeking several favors for family members, the FIFA ethics committee has said six months after imposing a seven-year sanction.

Harold Mayne-Nicholls of Chile “repeatedly asked for personal favors related to the hosting and training of his relatives (a son, nephew and brother-in-law),” FIFA ethics judges said in a statement on Thursday.

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The bidder and institution were not identified, though it was previously reported Mayne-Nicholls approached the Aspire center in Doha about unpaid work and intern positions. The youth academy was linked to Qatar’s successful 2022 World Cup hosting bid.

“Mr. Mayne-Nicholls did not act in FIFA’s interests and ignored his responsibility as a high-ranking FIFA official, someone who was expected to act with utmost neutrality and integrity, in order to pursue his own personal interests,” the statement said.

The ethics judging chamber said Mayne-Nicholls broke several articles of FIFA’s ethics code, including offering or accepting gifts and conflicts of interest.

By giving Mayne-Nicholls written reasons for the verdict, he can now finally take his case to the FIFA appeals committee.

Mayne-Nicholls was considering standing in the FIFA presidential election when his ethics case was reported in 2014.

He was appointed by FIFA in 2010 to lead a six-member team evaluating the 2018-2022 World Cup bidders. All nine candidates were visited between July and September 2010.

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In the technical report, Mayne-Nicholls flagged eventual winners Russia and Qatar as presenting the most risk to FIFA as potential host nations.

The FIFA executive committee largely ignored his report, plus a FIFA-commissioned analysis of the commercial prospects for each bidder’s World Cup project, in a December 2010 vote.

Mayne-Nicholls was voted out of office as president of the Chile FA soon after completing his task for FIFA.

Blatter, Platini respond with defiance to 8-year FIFA bans

Michel Platini & Sepp Blatter, FIFA
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Sepp Blatter and Michel Platini will, pending appeals, be exiled from the game of soccer for eight years, a FIFA ethics committee announced on Monday.

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Following Monday’s announcement, Blatter and Platini went on the offensive to defend their good names — yes, it was tough to type that with a straight face — and maintain their innocence. As each man fallen FIFA executive sees it, the investigations and subsequent bans against them are nothing more than a witch hunt to bring them down.

Blatter, on his eight-year ban (full media session below):

“I will fight for me and I will fight for FIFA. Suspended for eight years for what? I spoke with my lawyer this morning, who was not surprised the notification of the decision was first made to the media and later to those who should receive it. Communication in this ethics committee is an example of how you shall not do it.

“I am really sorry. I am sorry that I am still somewhere a punching ball. I am sorry that as president of FIFA I am this punching ball. I am sorry for football. I am sorry for the 400-plus FIFA team members. I’m sorry about that. I am also sorry about me and about how I am treated in this world of humanitarian qualities.

“I am not ashamed even if I am suspended. I am still the president. The committee cannot go against the president.”

Blatter went on to say, “If we had awarded the World Cup in 2022 the USA, we would not be here,” about which he is probably absolutely correct. That doesn’t make it “sour grapes” from the American authorities who have since taken down the FIFA ringleader. Remember, Sepp, you are still responsible for the 2022 World Cup having been given to Qatar. You were investigated for one series of improprieties, and in doing so were found to have been doing similar deeds for nearly two decades. You did it the crime(s), now you’ll do the time.

Platini, on his eight-year ban:

“This decision does not surprise me… It was orchestrated to tarnish myself by governing bodies that I know well and that I refuse to accord any legitimacy or credibility today. … My behavior has always been faultless and I’m at peace with my own conscience.”

“I am convinced that my fate was sealed before the hearing of December 18 and that this verdict is just a pathetic cover-up for a desire to eliminate me from the world of football.

“On the football field and in the exercise of my mandates, my behavior has always been irreproachable.”

FBI investigation zeroes in on Blatter, $100 million in bribes

Sepp Blatter, FIFA
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Sepp Blatter’s day is coming — that’s what we’ve steadfastly told ourselves since a number of former and current FIFA executives were arrested on corruption charges back in May, while the then-president skated by untouched and won yet another president election before announcing his eventual resignation (which, if you’re keeping track, still hasn’t actually happened) days later.

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At least, that’s what we’ve had to tell ourselves to hold onto hope that the ringleader and kingpin of world soccer’s governing body’s corrupt ways would one day be held accountable for nearly two decades of shady dealings.

It would appear, according to a Sunday report by the BBC, that Blatter’s day is fast approaching, as the 79-year-old is reportedly the focal point of an FBI investigation regarding $100 million of bribes paid to former FIFA officials for the hosting rights of World Cups. According to the report, Blatter is said to have had “full knowledge” of fellow FIFA officials accepting bribes for their respective votes in awarding the hosting rights of the 2018 and 2022 World Cups.

[ MORE: Blatter, Platini to face lifetime bans at hearing in two weeks ]

As for what Qatar spent to secure the 2022, rights, the BBC reports an astounding figure:

Lord Triesman, a former Football Association chairman, was given the figure by sources close to British intelligence.

“I was told by two sources that have always been very reliable with good information, good intelligence, that the sum that Qatar had spent on their bid was £117 million ($176 million).”

This is six times what England spent on its bid for the 2018 World Cup, and almost 12 times the American expenditure on their 2022 bid.

On Thursday, U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch, speaking at a press conference following the arrests of 16 more soccer officials from CONCACAF and CONMEBOL, announced a 92-count indictment which features charges against those very figures, as well as superseding charges against a number of figures arrested in May. When asked whether Blatter was currently being investigated with charges forthcoming, Lynch refused to comment directly, but assured those in attendance that investigations were still ongoing with more charges expected.

Sepp, your day is (finally) almost here.

European clubs slam FIFA 40-team World Cup plan

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NYON, Switzerland (AP) Europe’s top soccer clubs have criticized FIFA’s in-house efforts to reform, including plans for a 40-team World Cup.

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The European Club Association says it was not told of FIFA’s wish to add eight teams at the 2026 World Cup. The 220-member group says “clubs are not prepared to be further ignored.”

The ECA says FIFA’s lack of consultation was “proof that the proposed reforms are not at the required standard allowing for a new and modern FIFA.”

[ MORE: DETAILS — 16 more officials arrested, 92-count indictment unsealed ]

The ECA, led by Bayern Munich chairman Karl-Heinz Rummenigge, says it suspected FIFA would mismanage the process of involving stakeholders in modernizing after its corruption crisis.

Tense relations had seemed repaired in March when FIFA agreed to pay clubs worldwide $209 million for releasing players to the 2018 World Cup.

Qatar launches probe after rains exposed poor construction

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DUBAI, United Arab Emirates (AP) Qatar has launched an investigation after heavy rains exposed poor construction in a country set to host the 2022 FIFA World Cup, a deluge that saw water cascade through the roof of its $15 billion main airport.

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The investigation already is examining the work of five unnamed companies and others could be targeted as well in the probe launched by Prime Minister Sheikh Abdullah bin Nasser bin Khalifa Al Thani, who also serves as interior minister, the country’s state-run Qatar News Agency said.

“Parties responsible for dereliction or negligence, whether governmental or private, will be held accountable,” the agency said, citing a statement late Wednesday from Qatar’s Government Communication Office.

Reached for comment, officials at Doha’s Hamad International Airport issued a statement simply saying: “There was no impact to operations yesterday.” It referred other questions to the government.

The day before, at least 79.5 millimeters (3.13 inches) of rain fell at the airport, according to the Qatar Meteorology Department. Typically, the hot, desert country sees around 50 millimeters (1.97 inches) of rain in a year.

The sudden rainfall saw water pour out of the airport’s ceiling in several places, captured in online videos.

Qatar opened Hamad International Airport in April 2014, part of its effort to enter the competitive Gulf airline market. The 600,000 square meter (6.5 million square feet) passenger terminal complex was scheduled to be completed in 2009.

The airport is part of a multibillion-dollar building boom in Doha ahead of the 2022 World Cup. However, the push has seen Qatar criticized for the way it treats its large migrant worker population. There also have been accusations of shoddy construction.

Follow Jon Gambrell on Twitter at http://www.twitter.com/jongambrellap .