FIFA President Sepp Blatter allegedly will not enter the United States due to an FBI investigation over rewarding the 2018 World Cup to Russia and the 2022 World Cup to Qatar.
ESPN’s E:60 program debuted an hour long documentary on this week on Blatter. He does not want to face the FBI over the bribery and corruption accusations against FIFA.
Sources tell E:60 that Sepp Blatter has decided, due to the FBI investigation, that it would be unwise to set foot on American soil.
— E:60 (@E60) May 12, 2015
The FBI has been investigating FIFA with the cooperation of a former senior American official in the organization.
— E:60 (@E60) May 12, 2015
For more on the controversy surrounding FIFA, see E:60's investigation into Qatar's World Cup: http://t.co/KhFjziDezd
— E:60 (@E60) May 13, 2015
FIFA immediately denied the accusations.
FIFA: "absolutely untrue" to claim Sepp Blatter avoiding travel to USA "because of any alleged FBI requests." #SSNHQ
— Bryan Swanson (@skysports_bryan) May 14, 2015
FIFA also found no corruption in their internal investigation, but that did not stop the FBI from starting their own in November 2014.
Observers raised eyebrows when Russia received the bid and jaws dropped when Qatar won theirs. Many wondered how FIFA chose these countries to host the world’s most popular tournament. After all, the tournament usually takes place in the summer. Qatar averages temperatures of 122 degrees. Blatter did move the 2022 World Cup to December in order to avoid deadly summer heat.
In June 2014, The Sunday Times claimed they possessed more documents that show how Mohomed bin Hammam, a Qatari who sat on the FIFA executive committee, used Qatar’s wealth to buy votes for its World Cup bid. The evidence was so damning that World Cup sponsors Adidas and Sony spoke out. There is evidence against bin Hammam and how he “pulled strings at the top of government and with the country’s royal family to arrange meetings and favours [sic] for key voters in the months leading up to the World Cup ballot.” The Qatar 2022 committee tried to disassociate itself from bin Hammam, but The Sunday Times said the documents will also prove he did not work alone and the committee is not innocent.
The documents also show that Russia and Qatar worked together a month before they won their bids:
Emails show that Russia invited Bin Hammam to a summit to discuss “bilateral relations” in sport between their two countries on October 30, 2010, a month before the vote on the bids. Two days later, Qatar’s ruling emir also flew to Moscow for talks about joint gas production deals between the two countries.
The leaked correspondence shows that Vitaly Mutko, Russia’s Exco member and 2018 bid chairman, hailed Bin Hammam’s meeting with Putin as “a chance to further promote bilateral relations between our nations in the areas of sport”.
When something does not feel right just follow the money trail:
In March, Telegraph Sport revealed that former Fifa vice-president Jack Warner and his family were paid millions by a company owned by the former Fifa executive committee member for Qatar.
Further disclosures revealed that the daughter of a former executive committee member had more than £2 million put into her account, and a senior FIFA official’s son was given a job at a private Qatari hospital shortly after the decision to award the country the World Cup.
The tensions between Moscow and the West over the invasion of Ukraine also makes the World Cup in Russia controversial outside of it. People are also not pleased about the decision over Russian President Vladimir Putin’s laws that ban gay “propaganda” and the crackdown on free speech.