England 2018, led by Andy Anson, tallied just two ballots in the World Cup bid vote last December. (Getty Images)
FBI Probes FIFA World Cup Vote
As FIFA looks to get on with its roadmap of reforms, the FBI is apparently busy investigating the year-old bid process that sent the 2018 World Cup to Russia and the 2022 finals to Qatar. London’s Daily Telegraph reports that investigators from the American agency were in the British capital last month interviewing leaders from England’s failed 2018 campaign and amassing “substantial evidence” that outside organizations tried to hack the email accounts of USA 2022 officials and possibly those of England 2018 as well. Also under investigation is the cash-for-votes scandal that rocked world football’s governing body just prior to FIFA Congress. If the $40,000 bribes FIFA says were offered to Caribbean Football Union officials crossed American borders undeclared, that would constitute a crime under USA law.
Pieth Pledges Interest in FIFA’s Past
Mark Pieth was introduced last month as head of FIFA’s Independent Governance Committee. (WFI)
FIFA’s governance expert of choice says he will focus on the past as well as the future of world football’s governing body. Following claims by former FIFA consultants Transparency International that Sepp Blatter’s newly unveiled Independent Governance Committee isn’t truly independent and isn’t interested in fixing FIFA’s troubled past, Mark Pieth told the Associated Press he has “absolutely no objection to an investigation” and will soon interview investigative journalists who are “experts on FIFA’s past.”
Doubts Qatar 2022
Newly elected FIFA Ex-Co member Theo Zwanziger says Qatar should never have been given hosting rights to the 2022 World Cup. “The basic requirements for a host country have been perverted,” he told AFP on Wednesday. “I have never understood how such a small country can be awarded one of the most important sports events in the world, especially as Qatar were in last place on the grid before the decision was made.” The oil-rich Gulf state beat out South Korea, Japan, Australia and USA for the 2022 finals last December. Months later, Zwanziger of Germany was introduced by FIFA president Sepp Blatter as president of “the world’s most important football association” when he took his Ex-Co seat at FIFA congress.
Hammam’s CAS Date Set
Mohammed Bin Hammam is currently appealing his lifetime ban from football. (Getty)
Former FIFA presidential challenger Mohammed Bin Hammam will make his case before the Court of Arbitration next month. On Jan. 23 in Lausanne, the 62-year-old Qatari will try to convince CAS to block the Asian Football Confederation from going ahead and giving his AFC presidency – and vacated FIFA Ex-Co seat – to Zhang Jilong of China while the appeal of his lifetime FIFA ban is still alive. CAS has yet to set a date for that hearing.
By INSIDER’s Matthew Grayson
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