(WFI) Head of FIFA’s audit and compliance committee has reiterated that the 2018 and 2022 World Cup hosts could change as a result of investigations by the FBI and Swiss authorities.
Domenico Scala says if any evidence of wrongdoing is found by the ongoing criminal investigations into the awarding of the World Cups to Russia and Qatar, the rights to host the tournament could be stripped.
The separate investigations by the United States and Switzerland into the awarding of the World Cups are searching for concrete evidence that suggests bribes were taken by FIFA officials in exchange for their vote in the World Cup selection procedure.
Guido Tognoni worked as a special adviser to FIFA president Sepp Blatter during the 90’s and early 2000’s. He disagrees with Scala that the tournaments may be taken away, yet agrees that bribes likely facilitated the awarding of these two tournaments.
“In FIFA, for many years, you could only reach your goal by taking dollars in your hands … Even if there is evidence that FIFA people were bribed, where is the problem? With FIFA, or the people who had no choice but to get the World Cup with bribing?” Tognoni told BBC sport.
On Monday, FIFA sent out statements regarding the comments made by Scala and Tognoni. The controversy-laden federation says there are currently “no legal grounds” to remove the World Cups from Russia and Qatar.
“Russia and Qatar were awarded the 2018 and 2022 FIFA World Cups by democratic vote of the Executive Committee,” FIFA said in their statement.
As to the comments by Blatter’s former right-hand man Tognoni, FIFA says they created the Swiss investigation into the awarding of the World Cup in order to answer the questions he raised and clear their name in the matter.
Until the investigation reaches a conclusion and decision, both Russia and Qatar have announced they will continue all preparations for the tournaments as planned and insist their bids were clean.
Jack Warner Accused of Diverting Relief Funds
Jack Warner is one of nine former or current FIFA executives indicted by the United States as a result of the bribery scandal engulfing the federation.
Warner was a former FIFA vice president and president of CONCACAF, the North American, Caribbean and Central American football confederation. During his time in these positions, Warner allegedly used his influence within the sport to receive bribes in exchange for his vote for World Cup hosts.
The United States investigation has released documents detailing bank statements and transfers for Warner’s personal accounts. According to the BBC, these documents showed $750,000 in emergency funds donated collectively by FIFA and the Korean Football Association (KFA) that were diverted by Warner into his personal accounts.
The funds were distributed in 2010 to aid the Caribbean following the devastating Haiti earthquake. U.S. investigators claim the relief money was used personally by Warner instead of going to relief efforts.
This is not the first time these accusations have been made against Warner. In 2012, the Trinidad and Tobago Football Federation (TTFF) said Warner was the sole owner of the account where FIFA and the KFA distributed the donations.
Warner dismissed these allegations, painting himself as the victim of a conspiracy theory. As a result of the incidence, FIFA froze funding to the TTFF.
Indicted Businessman Turns Self In
Of the 14 people indicted by the United States, five members are businessmen that worked for various sports marketing and consulting companies that dealt extensively with FIFA. Although most are attempting to delay their extradition to the United States, Alejandro Burzaco chose to turn himself in.
Burzaco is the president of Torneos y Competencias, a sports marketing company in Argentina. After the U.S. indictment alleged he received kickbacks for signing lucrative broadcasting deals for the Copa America tournaments, Burzaco was unable to be found.
Italian police official Giuseppe Tricarico says Burzaco was being searched for around the world with little luck. Burzaco saved Interpol the hassle of locating him by turning himself in to Italian police Tuesday morning.
Burzaco will attend a hearing this afternoon to confirm the arrest, following procedure in the Italian judicial system.
By INSIDER Kevin Nutley
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