US prosecutors confirm Qatar & Russia bribed FIFA officials to host World Cups

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How can Qatar 2022 possibly go ahead now?

The latest allegations from US prosecutors, published on Monday, will come as little surprise to anyone.

Ever since Russia and Qatar were awarded the World Cups of 2018 and 2022, questions were asked about the bidding process.

On Monday, the indictment was unsealed in the US District Court in Brooklyn.

The claims are damning. There is little argument that FIFA members were bribed.

So the question has to be asked, in light of the fact that Russia 2018 has already gone ahead…

How can the 2022 World Cup in Qatar possibly still continue as normal?


ZUBARAH, QATAR – JANUARY 25 : A replica of the FIFA World Cup Trophy in front of the maroon and white coloured flag of Qatar at the Al Zubarah Fort, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, in Madinat ash Shamal, Qatar. The country of Qatar is the host nation for the FIFA 2022 World Cup on January 25, 2016 in Qatar. (Photo by Matthew Ashton – AMA/Getty Images)


The US Department of Justice confirms what we all knew

The US Department of Justice has confirmed that FIFA executives were paid bribes to vote for Russia and Qatar.

Nicolás Leoz, then the head of CONMEBOL, South America’s governing body, and the then Brazil federation president Ricardo Teixeira, both received bribes to vote for Qatar to host the 2022 World Cup.

Jack Warner, the head of CONCACAF at the time, received 5 million dollars to vote for Russia to host the 2018 World Cup.

This was just the tip of the iceberg, plenty of other FIFA officials were bribed to award the World Cups to two countries that circumvented the voting process and paint world football’s governing body in a shocking light.

The indictment from the US Department of Justice can be seen here.


DOHA, QATAR – DECEMBER 07: In this photo illustration an Official FIFA Club World Cup Qatar 2019 ball sits on display in front of the skyline of Doha on December 07, 2019 in Doha, Qatar. (Photo by David Ramos – FIFA/FIFA via Getty Images)


“Criminal fraudulent schemes that caused significant harm to the sport of soccer”

If you needed any more evidence of just how corrupt the bidding processes were for the 2018 and 2022 World Cups, here is William F Sweeney Jr., assistant director in charge of the FBI’s New York field office:

“The profiteering and bribery in international soccer have been deep-seated and commonly known practices for decades.”

“The defendants and their co-conspirators corrupted the governance and business of international soccer with bribes and kickbacks, and engaged in criminal fraudulent schemes that caused significant harm to the sport of soccer.”

“Their schemes included the use of shell companies, sham consulting contracts and other concealment methods to disguise the bribes and kickback payments and make them appear legitimate.”

The indictments were first announced in May 2015. Since then, there have been 26 guilty pleas that were publicly announced.

It is not just FIFA officials that were proven to have been corrupt in the bidding process. But, also 21st Century Fox executives, who secured the TV rights in the US for three World Cups.


What now for Qatar 2022?

For those that want to see a change in who hosts the next World Cup, the timing of these indictments going public could not have come at a worse time.

After all, the world is gripped by the coronavirus pandemic and, with all due respect to football and the World Cup, there is a lot more pressing matters to worry about right now.

Yet, a law enforcement agency has confirmed that the World Cup of 2018 and 2022 were corruptly bought.

Russia 2018 is in the past. It was a big success for the host country. For Russia. As well as FIFA. And, can arguably claim to be one of the best World Cups ever.

Yet, it is based on corruption and is a shocking example to younger fans of the game, many of whom will have fallen in love with football in summer 2018.


Have FIFA cleaned up their act?

Of course, the Sepp Blatter era of FIFA is over.

Now world football’s governing body is run by Gianni Infantino.

Has anything changed? Well, the simple answer can be found in the fact Qatar will still be hosting the World Cup in 2022.

So much so, that all leagues across the globe have been forced to change their schedules for a winter World Cup.

And, there is no likelihood of change either.

As an illustration, Russia’s Alexey Sorokin sits on the FIFA Council. The same man who ran the Local Organizing Committee for the 2018 FIFA World Cup, after working on the Bid Committee in 2009.

There will be no change for 2022.

In these times, when simply watching football has become a hope and a dream for most of the world’s population.

Heck, even playing 5-aside is beyond most of us due to social distancing rules.

Surely, it is time for FIFA to come clean and right the wrongs of the past!


Tweets on FIFA corruption following the US Justice Department findings

Related: Covid-19: Nothing’s changed for migrant workers in Qatar ahead of the 2022 World Cup

Michel Platini confirms he wasn’t arrested/assures innocence regarding any Qatar 2022 World Cup wrongdoing.


This article was edited by Benjamin Newman.