BY ALEX P. VIDAL
NEWPORT BEACH, California — If they are not accused as sexual predators, some leaders of world economic and sports governing bodies are tormented by corruption charges and other transgressions related to abuse of power.
If they are not caught with their pants down like IMF playboy Dominique Strauss-Khan, they are exposed in flagrante delicto with their hands in the cookie jar like the eight FIFA (International Football Federation) sycophants who accepted bribes to manipulate the awarding of 2018 World Cup to Russia and the 2022 World Cup to Qatar.
If Strauss-Khan is the wallet of the world, both FIFA reelectionist president Sepp Blatter and his rival Mohamed bin Hammam of Qatar are the pockets of the most popular and biggest outdoor sports event in the universe — soccer World Cup!
And both Blatter and bin Hammam are at each other’s throats for the FIFA top portfolio in the June 1 election. Each wants to bring down another swapping ghastly corruption charges and exposing the richest sports federation in the world as a snake pit and haven of thieves!
We have made a categorical pronouncement earlier that Blatter must go owing to command responsibility for his failure to avert the bribery fiasco that rocked the 24-member FIFA executive committee.
While we take potshots at the Belgian soccer boss, we stumbled into reports of scandaous infractions allegedly committed by the man who wants to topple him from the FIFA presidency.
Bin Hammam himself is accused of having engaged in another bribery scam. He who comes to court must have clean hands, as the legal dictum says.
FIFA has initiated the investigation on bin Hamman after organization insider, Chuck Blazer, an American on its executive committee and secretary general of the North American, Central American and Caribbean region, or Concacaf, in which the United States plays, had blown the whistle.
The bribery charges centered on a meeting held on May 10 and 11 in Trinidadand Tobago attended by bin Hammam and about two dozen soccer delegates from the Caribbean region. Each of the FIFA’s 208 member federations votes in the presidential poll.
According to a report by Jere Longman, Blazer had accused Jack Warner of Trinidad and Tobago, a FIFA vice president and also president of Concacaf, of making cash offers of $40,000 apiece to the Caribbean soccer officials in bin Hammam’s behalf.
“In turn, the officials were to vote for bin Hammam as FIFA president,” says Longman’s report published in The New York Times May 26 citing a May 25 report by The Telegraph of London.
“Under FIFA’s code of ethics, people have an affirmative obligation to turn over evidence they have,” said lawyer John Collins, a member of FIFA’s legal committee. “Chuck complied.”
Here’s Longman’s report: “Two weeks ago, Warner came under scrutiny in a British parliamentary inquiry when he was accused of requesting $4 million for an education center and $800,000 to buy Haiti’s television rights fees in exchange for voting for England to host the 2018 World Cup.
“In a statement Wednesday (May 25), Warner said he was ‘not aware of any wrongdoing’ regarding the latest bribery charge. He, Blazer and bin Hamman, the president of the Asian soccer federation, are to appear before a FIFA ethics panel Sunday (May28), three days before the president vote.”
Longman quoted Warner: “It is interesting to note the timing of these allegations and the hearing scheduled days before the FIFA presidential election.”
Longman asked: “Is Warner suggesting that Blazer and Blatter were in cahoots? Whatever his motivation in accusing bin Hammam and Warner, Blazer must feel he has strong evidence to challenge a powerful and longtime associate.
“Whether for altruistic or self-serving reasons, Blazer may have taken an important first step.”