The last two weeks have been fascinating for those of us who follow the international kleptocracy known as FIFA, the governing body of international soccer. For decades FIFA has been run like a giant fraud scheme, like Illinois state government writ large on the backs of fans, World Cup TV rights, and soccer merchandising. This has given license to men like Jack Warner of Trinidad, aka the Pirate of the Caribbean, who wields considerable influence as the head of North and Central America and the Caribbean for FIFA, to use a purported series of bribes and realpolitik to help prop up FIFA President Sepp Blatter’s power structure. Warner has build a personal fortune as regional FIFA puppet master, and every time an allegation has emerged or charges have been filed, he’s managed to escape.
Maybe not this time. The USA’s own FIFA Executive Rep, Chuck Blazer, brought bribery charges against Warner and Mohammed Bin Hamman. Now Bin Hamman is running against Sepp Blatter for the FIFA presidency, a big reason why this has all come to light. Bin Hamman is also the guy who orchestrated Qatar’s successful bid to host the 2022 World Cup (beating out the USA’s strong bid). Bin Hamman and Warner attempted to bribe Caribbean representatives with $40,000 gifts and all-expenses paid to an exclusive Port-of-Spain resort for their votes a couple of weeks back, a familiar shakedown tactic of Warner. He keeps his plebes happy, and they vote the way he dictates. And of course, we are now also learning that whispers of similar tactics used by Bin Hamman and the Qataris to secure the World Cup indeed have legs. Recent testimony by a special investigation in Parliament in London has and will continue to shed light on that situation. Continue reading