Qatar, Dan Tan and Bernie Madoff’s Accountant

Football governance has been utterly disgraced.

To review:  almost-three years ago, twenty-four men gathered in a room to decide the hosting of two World Cups.  Quite why they would decide the site of two of the world’s biggest sporting events (rather than just one, as is the normal case) was never explained.  However, what is known is that of those twenty-four men in the room, six of them were seriously linked to corruption.

When I write ‘seriously-linked to corruption’ I mean they were convicted of corruption or were caught on hidden camera soliciting bribes.

A few months later, a leaked e-mail by Jack Warner (one of the men thrown out of FIFA for corruption-related allegations) showed that the Secretary-General of FIFA Jerome Valcke thought that the Qataris had ‘bought’ the World Cup.

After the e-mail was leaked Mr. Valcke immediately claimed in a press conference that, yes he had meant the Qataris had bought the World Cup but not in an illegal manner, simply in some previously undisclosed manner which was all perfectly legal.

He may be right, but there are few independent fans who are not extremely suspicious of the entire process.

It is not often that one feels sorry for Fox Broadcasting, but in this case sympathies are due to them.  They spent one billion dollars on broadcasting rights for the tournament in June.  Now the obvious is pointed out that it is impossible for an international sporting tournament to function in a Qatari June.

The Australian government spent forty-three million dollars in their bid to host the World Cup.   They also proposed a bid for a June tournament. They too were turned down.

What is needed is for both Fox and the Australians to sue FIFA.

It is the only way for sports governance to be taken seriously.  It is clear that FIFA will not deal with this issue in a proper manner. We have had a revolving door of integrity experts and anti-match-fixing consultants at their organization.   We need a couple of serious lawsuits to get the organization dragged into modern times.

As for the Qataris, their influence on modern football is deep and far-reaching. It is also extremely worrying.

In my own field, they are trying to claim that they are leading the charge against corruption in sports. A host of anti-corruption consultants and academics have been put on the Qatari pay roll to buttress this claim. I believe the only way these ‘anti-corruption experts’ can save their own reputations is by immediately calling for an independent examination into the process by which Qatar was awarded the World Cup.  Not to do so, means that they lose their credibility to speak on any other issue.


Bernie Madoff’s accountant was arrested this week. Police claim that it was impossible for him to have known that the hundreds-of-billions pouring in and out of the Madoff Empire was not an utter fraud.   Madoff’s accountant claims, in effect, that he was just really, really stupid and somehow he missed it all.

The story reminds me of my dear friends at the Singapore Police Force.   They claim that somehow they missed in their ‘two-year investigation’ all the money flowing in and out of Tan’s alleged fixing networks. They missed all the one-day trips that his moneymen took to pay off various agents in Italy. They missed all the evidence that the European police forces were able to gather.  They missed so much that the only way to deal with Mr. Tan is now to imprison him without trial or recourse to a public hearing.

They too may be right, but it does make you wonder what else could they have missed and why are they so stupid in this particular case, compared to all the other police forces?


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