FIFA Update – Compliance Chief Claims Russia and Qatar Could Lose World Cups if Bribery Proved; FIFA Film Flops in US

June 8, 2015

By Christian Radnedge

FIFA’s independent chairman of the audit and compliance committee admits that Russia and Qatar could lose the rights to host the 2018 and 2022 World Cups if there is evidence that bribery occurred in the bidding process.

In an interview with Swiss newspaper Blick, Domenico Scala said “should evidence be present that the awarding to Qatar and Russia only came about with bought votes, then the awarding could be void.”

His comments come after the news that the US Department of Justice’s own investigation into corruption in world football includes scrutiny of the awarding of the controversial World Cup hosting rights in December 2010.

When seven high ranking FIFA officials were arrested in Zurich at the recent FIFA congress as part of the 14 charged by US prosecutors, it was also announced that Swiss authorities were launching an investigation into the 2018/2022 bidding process.

Other World Cup hosting bids are under scrutiny following former FIFA executive committee member Chuck Blazer’s revelations that he and others were bribed to vote for the host of the 1998 and 2010 World Cups.

Also in his interview, Scala insisted that any future president of FIFA should serve only a maximum of three four-year terms.

“If a FIFA president does two or three cycles that is enough,” he said.

President Sepp Blatter announced last week his intention to lay down his mandate, despite winning a fifth term in office just days beforehand.

Blatter has been president of FIFA since 1998.

FIFA film flops

The film about the history of FIFA, United Passions, has taken just $607 in its opening weekend.

Starring Tim Roth as Sepp Blatter, the budget for the project was estimated to be between $25-32m with FIFA believed to have contributed three-quarters of the money from its own reserves.

The adage that ‘there’s no such thing as bad publicity’ doesn’t seem to hold true in this situation, as even with FIFA dominating the news agenda there has been scarce interest in the film.

United Passions supposedly presents the history of FIFA through three leaders. Actor Gerard Depardieu plays FIFA founder Jules Rimet, Sam Neill as Joao Havelange and then Roth as Blatter.

The film premiered at the Cannes Film Festival in 2014 and was given a limited release in US cinemas this weekend.

Critics have not been kind to it either, with the New York Times calling it “one of the most unwatchable films in recent memory, a dishonest bit of corporate-suite sanitizing that’s not good even for laughs.”

The Guardian said it was “cinematic excrement”, while the New York Post described it as “tedious, amateurish and hilariously ill-timed.”

{jcomments on}