Testimonies Begin in FIFA Trial -- Media Watch

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(WFI) The trial of three FIFA administrators on corruption charges in New York City has drawn the world’s sporting press to the courtroom.

Flags wave outside the FIFA headquarters in Zurich (ATR)
Initial reports from Bloomberg said that opening arguments from the trial resembled “trappings of a grisly organized-crime prosecution,” instead of one for sport administrators.

“The testimony is likely to lift the veil on a global racketeering and bribery plot that prosecutors said ran for more than two decades at FIFA’s highest levels and around the globe,” Bloomberg wrote.
The New York Times outlined the charges against the three South American administrators, noting how each lawyer actually praised the U.S. government efforts. However, American authorities overstepped by charging the three defendants.

“The defense lawyers — emphasizing the sprawling web of relationships in international soccer and the long arm of American justice — urged the jury not to jump to conclusions about their clients simply because of their associations with convicted criminals,” the Times wrote.

reporter Rebecca Ruiz noted on Twitter that lawyers worked hard to get jurors to understand the world of international soccer.

The New York Post writes that prosecutors portrayed the “international soccer bigwigs as rapacious predators who cared more about lining their own pockets with illegal bribes than promoting a sport they claimed to love."

Early testimony in the case brought revelations that many international media organizations were complicit in the corruption arrangements. Government witness Alejandro Burzaco named numerous groups that paid bribes to secure television rights including American network Fox Sports.

“Fox was given the broadcasting rights to the World Cup through 2026 in 2015 in a controversial decision that featured no bidding process with other media outlets for the U.S. English-speaking rights,” writes Sports Illustrated.

One of the defendants in the case is Jose Maria Marin, the former President of the Brazilian Football Confederation. His involvement in the trial has lead to multi-platform coverage from Globo, the largest news conglomerate in Brazil. Interestingly, Groupo Globo was named as one of the companies named as taking bribes from the three administrators. Fohla de S. Paulo attempted to contact Globo for comment on the situation, unsuccessfully.

By INSIDER Aaron Bauer

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