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Russia’s alleged corruption to win 2018 World Cup bid


When people around soccer speak about vote bribing surrounding the 2018 and 2022 World Cup bids, many will immediately jump to Qatar. The stories about bribery coming from the Qatar committee are numerous, public and accepted by many as the truth. But the Russia 2018 bid isn’t presented by singing angels either. Now that the FBI is investigating both bids for malfeasance, let’s take a look back at Russia’s 2018 bid, the supposedly “cleaner” of the two.

The investigation by The Sunday Times newspaper into bribery at FIFA led to the suspension of the executive Amos Adamu in October of 2010, two months before the decisions on the hosts were made. According to that investigation, Adamu told undercover reporters that Russians involved with the bid had offered him “co-operation” with building soccer facilities and infrastructure in his native Nigeria. The head of Russia’s bid, Alexei Sorokin, categorically denied these claims soon after they were made public. As has become a trend nearly five years later, he claimed that the accusations were the attempts of the English media to sabotage the Russian bid, though the Times stood by its reporting. Adamu served a three year ban from soccer and did not vote in the election for either World Cup host.

In concordance with the Adamu investigation, FIFA also suspended Reynald Temarii, the head of the Tahitian Football Federation, for breaking confidentiality and loyalty rules when he discussed World Cup votes with Times reporters. He was later banned for eight years earlier in May after he accepted €300,000 from Mohamed bin Hammam, the disgraced former Asian soccer chief.

The allegations go even deeper than just from these two officials. The Daily Mail newspaper reported that Chuck Blazer had a change of heart and voted for the Russian bid after Vladimir Putin sent him pictures of his holidays, to which he posted them on his personal blog soon after. While this seems trivial, it’s direct political influence in the bidding process, and by FIFA’s own (oft not followed) rulebook, this could constitute a re-vote.

In later reporting, the Times also unearthed that Putin may have bribed UEFA head Michel Platini to vote for his country’s bid with a rare Picasso painting, which was given to a Parliamentary council later as evidence for their own investigation.

Other reporting suggests that Putin was an integral figure in the Russian bid process, as he was during the bidding process for the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, and now as the tournament has come under some external threat, he has immediately moved to the defensive. Combine this with the West’s frosty relationship with Putin and Russia at present, and the mix is hardly surprising.

An MI6 investigation into the Russian bid also unearthed deep involvement from Chelsea owner and Chairman Roman Abramovich, and unearthed other alleged corrupt practices from the bid during a spying operation.

All of these allegations, should they prove to be credible, would be more than enough evidence to constitute a re-vote for the 2018 World Cup host. Whether the FBI investigation will unearth more, and whether they will actually be able to press charges against corrupt officials involved in these claims is another question entirely, since none of the bribery looks to have taken place in the US, using US currency, or had money transfers made through US banks, which would allow the Treasury, DOJ and FBI to investigate under US law.

The FBI’s investigation into the Russian bid may unearth just as much dirt as they have into the Qatari bid, but now the question is whether they will be able to act on what they find. They may need cooperation from officials in Switzerland and England if they are to bring any more charges on these claims.

But to those who believe Russia’s bid was somehow “cleaner” than Qatar’s? The evidence is overwhelming against that.


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  1. Pakapala

    June 3, 2015 at 11:14 pm

    From this article:
    “The investigation by The Sunday Times newspaper into bribery at FIFA led to the suspension of the executive Amos Adamu in October of 2010, two months before the decisions on the hosts were made. According to that investigation, Adamu told undercover reporters that Russians involved with the bid had offered him “co-operation” with building soccer facilities and infrastructure in his native Nigeria.”

    From BBC in early 2010, regarding the efforts of England’s bid team to get Jack Warner’s votes:

    “The David Beckham Academy is an integral part of the England bid team’s legacy plans.

    The two organisations have committed to delivering a bespoke football and life skills project in each confederation each year until 2017 – if the bid is successful.”

    • Flyvanescence

      June 3, 2015 at 11:26 pm

      So England’s hands aren’t clean either–SHOCKER!!!

      For me the best bet is, nobody’s hands are clean. Likely every country bidding for either of those World Cups was doing some shady business trying to gain votes. Let’s not pretend otherwise.

      Interestingly most people saying USA or England should get them are–SHOCKER (again)–from USA or England.

      And to avoid stupid responses, i am not supporting the Qatar decision.

  2. Al

    June 3, 2015 at 11:02 pm

    Putin did this, Putin did that, most people are sick to hear that. Russian deserve to host WC maybe not against England or Spain but they deserve to host it for the first time in Easter Europe.

    People forget Russia is the most populous country in Euro and is football country, for one I believe they deserve to host. There is no shame for Russia to host it, people need to stop mix politic and football, Putin is no Russia. I believe Russia did everything they can to win people vote but not bride, it like when England went to Caribbean to play friendly game, do you believe if it wasn’t for WC they would went there to play, how many time England went there to play before or since.

    But for Qatar? I don’t know what possible reason they rewarded them to host WC, even for reason they have petro dollar I don’t think it is enough to give them WC. Qatar just want to saw to the world how much rich they do have. Qatar bought WC 2022 not doubt about that.

    For me let Russian host 2018 and then have vote between USA and Australia for 2022, for 2026 England and China fight for it.

    NB: I say 2022 US v OZ because they were among the countries who fought for that year, for other countries Japan and South Korea they just host it in 2002.

    For 2026 I say England vs China, England because it really too long since they host it, and they host it just one if look since then Germany host it twice between, and if you think England is the mother country of modern football it no fair. For China as a powerful country they deserve to have the chance host it one day. I am not counting Spain because they hosted it in 1982 it is long time but let give it to country who not host it for longer time.

    Sorry for my English.

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