FIFA scan­dal spreads around the globe

The China Post - - INTERNATIONAL - BY JEN­NIE MATTHEW

The FIFA cor­rup­tion scan­dal es­ca­lated Thurs­day as one sus­pect told of World Cup bribes and an­other promised to re­veal an “avalanche” of se­crets, in­clud­ing about FIFA pres­i­dent Sepp Blat­ter.

The storm went around the globe with South African po­lice open­ing an in­ves­ti­ga­tion into claims that money was paid to se­cure the 2010 World Cup.

Aus­tralian po­lice are look­ing into their coun­try’s bid for the 2022 World Cup, while in Venezu- ela in­ves­ti­ga­tors raided the coun­try’s foot­ball head­quar­ters look­ing for ev­i­dence against a FIFA of­fi­cial held in the scan­dal.

Fol­low­ing the shock res­ig­na­tion of Blat­ter on Tues­day, fo­cus has shifted to the US in­ves­ti­ga­tion which led to seven FIFA of­fi­cials be­ing ar­rested last week in Zurich.

Ev­i­dence given by ail­ing whistle­blower Chuck Blazer to US in­ves­ti­ga­tors told of at­tempts to buy the 1998 and 2010 World Cups hosted by France and South Africa re­spec­tively.

Now bat­tling can­cer in hos­pi­tal, the dis­graced for­mer North Amer­i­can foot­ball supremo said in tes­ti­mony re­leased by pros­e­cu­tors that FIFA ex­ec­u­tives con­spired to ac­cept bribes dur­ing bid­ding for the 1998 and 2010 events.

Blazer has ad­mit­ted to charges re­lated to his lead­er­ship of the North and Cen­tral Amer­i­can body CON­CA­CAF and membership of FIFA’s ex­ec­u­tive com­mit­tee.

In a plea deal with US pros­e­cu­tors, the 70-year-old agreed to wear a mi­cro­phone and record con­ver­sa­tions with other FIFA of­fi­cials. None of the other sus­pects are named.

“Among other things, I agreed with other per­sons in or around 1992 to fa­cil­i­tate the ac­cep­tance of a bribe in con­junc­tion with the se­lec­tion of the host na­tion for the 1998 World Cup,” Blazer said in his plea.

France beat Morocco in the bid­ding to stage that tour­na­ment. A doc­u­ment de­tail­ing the charges says that Blazer was present when a co-con­spir­a­tor ac­cepted a bribe in Morocco.

Tainted World Cup Bids

Blazer went on to ad­mit that he and “oth­ers on the FIFA ex­ec­u­tive com­mit­tee” agreed to ac­cept bribes in con­junc­tion with the se­lec­tion of South Africa to host the World Cup in 2010.

South African of­fi­cials have an­grily de­nied al­le­ga­tions by US in­ves­ti­ga­tors that they paid $10 mil­lion (8.9 mil­lion eu­ros) in bribes in 2008 to se­cure the rights.

The money al­legedly went to Jack Warner, a for­mer FIFA vi­cepres­i­dent and an­other for­mer CON­CA­CAF head. He was suspended by the world body in 2011 for cor­rup­tion.

Warner promised Wed­nes­day in his na­tive Trinidad and Tobago to tell an “avalanche” of se­crets.

“I rea­son­ably and surely fear for my life,” he de­clared in a paid po­lit­i­cal broad­cast and later added that “not even death will stop the avalanche that is com­ing.”

Warner said he had a file which “deals with my knowl­edge of in­ter­na­tional trans­ac­tions at FIFA, in­clud­ing its pres­i­dent Mr Sepp Blat­ter” and “Trinidad and Tobago’s prime min­is­ter.”

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