The Greatest Case of Commercial Blindness in the History of Sports Integrity

There are all kinds of examples of inappropriate blindness. There was Captain Smith of the SS Titanic not seeing the iceberg. There was Admiral Nelson putting the telescope to his eye patch not to see the signal to retreat. There was Johnny Papalia the mafia thug who beat up the head of Toronto’s illegal gambling racket in front of two-hundred people in a crowded restaurant and when the police arrived none of the patrons said they saw anything. Then there...

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Requiem for a Football Legend: Michel Platini

So he is gone. Michel Platini's drink at the last chance legal saloon of the Council for the Arbitration of Sport (CAS - the supreme court for sports) just ended.   Here is the background. Michel Platini “advised” Sepp Blatter, the former president of FIFA, between 1999-2002. Just before the 2011 FIFA Presidential election, where Michel Platini chose not to run against Blatter, he received a payment of 2 million Swiss Francs from Blatter. Their story was that this payment was in recompense...

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Covert Campaigns at the FIFA Game of Thrones

The FIFA presidential election was about covert campaigning, geo-politics, arrests for racketeering, corruption, fraud and sex: it did not have much to do with soccer. There were two FIFA Presidential elections happening here in Zurich. The public one with fine sounding statements and pronouncements of public morality made by the five presidential candidates. Their speeches featured all the clichés mentioning “accountability”, “transparency” or “a few bad apples ruining it for the honest majority”, etc, etc. Then there was a second campaign...

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The Elephant in the FIFA Room and the Caribbean Delegates

https://www.declanhill.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/02/X-Fifa-vice-president-Jack-Warner-is-caught-on-tape-offering-_gifts-of-25_000-to-Caribbean.flv.mp4 There are two unresolved questions here in Zurich with days to go before the biggest election in FIFA's history. The two front runners are Gianni Infantino and Sheikh Salman. They both have the official support of two confederations: Salman his own Asian Football Confederation (AFC) and the African Confederation (CAF). Infantino – Europe (UEFA) and Latin America (CONMEBOL). Most of the discussions, media spinning, rumours, etc in this city is about whether Salman's support is declining and Infantino is gaining: or,...

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Games Night at Zurich Hotels & Why Dan Tan Should Be Released

Crikey – the arrests of FIFA executives is getting so routine at the five-star Hotel Baur au Lac in Zurich the management should build it into their daily schedule: 5 p.m.     -                   High Tea 6 p.m.    -                   Cocktails & Happy Hour 6 a.m.    -                    FBI & Swiss Organized Crime Police arrests of FIFA executives 7.15 a.m.   -                Continental breakfast Possibly the hotel has, like chocolates on the pillows, turn-down service and concierges, criminal lawyers standing around...

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Potemkin Villages, Scapegoats and Fake Qatari Fans: 4 Things We Learned From This Week in International Sports Corruption

On the eve of FIFA’s executive committee meeting that is expected to rubber-stamp the decision of their ‘ethics committee’ (sic) to ban Sepp Blatter and Michel Platini from the international football world, four points: 1)      Is the internal FIFA reform - a believable process? No. It is a Potemkin village of a battle against corruption.   From far away, it seems good.  Once you get close, the obvious conflicts of interests emerge. What is occurring now is a frantic effort by FIFA...

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7 Things to Know about the FIFA Scandal

Now that Sepp Blatter has been driven off into the sunset from FIFA, it is time to reflect on the long-sorry, scandal ridden years of his reign. Seven things then that we have learned: 1) The Watergate of Sports Stories: It was not ESPN, nor any of the other big sports channels or well-established sports journalists who broke the       FIFA story. The real heroes are a small collection of journalists who are largely outsiders. As the big sports media empires frantically...

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FIFA – What Should Happen Now

Get Richard Pound in there asap. The news today of Sepp Blatter’s suspension shows the power of the sponsors.   Forget any police charges. Forget any bad publicity.   The reason why he is being shown the door is that some of the rich sponsors - finally, finally - came forward last week and asked for him to leave.  If they had done it years ago we might not be in this position. The question is what to do now? FIFA is still an...

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Requiem for a FIFA President & More to Come

See below from last week, when a number of people close to the investigations showed me some of the documentation. The other stories from FIFA sources are, now, legendary. When Blatter heard of the arrests at the five-star hotel in the spring, FIFA-insiders claim he hid for several hours, mobile phone switched off in case someone came for him. Here is the official statement from Swiss Prosecutors: Criminal proceedings against the President of FIFA Bern, 25.09.2015 – The Office of the Attorney...

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10 Thoughts on Sepp Blatter’s Resignation

1-  There are lots of people in the FIFA world who are far, far worse than Blatter. 2- It is possible that after the next FIFA election we could wind up with a president who will make us feel nostalgic for Blatter. 3- Blatter and his group at Zurich ran effective protection for national football federations around the world when they faced criminal investigations for corruption. From Nigeria to Iran to Greece – when governments, police forces and law enforcement have...

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