What We Know About Corruption in the 2018 And 2022 World Cup Bids
The FBI and Swiss authorities are currently investigating both bids.
Original images via Flickr and Wikimedia Commons/VICE Sports illustration
The FBI and Swiss authorities are currently investigating Russia's 2018 bid and Qatar's 2022 bid for corruption. This post will be continuously updated as new revelations are made.
December 2, 2010: Russia is awarded the 2018 World Cup over England, Spain/Portugal, and Netherlands/Belgium joint bids. Qatar is awarded the 2022 World Cup over Australia, the United States, Japan, and South Korea. Three weeks before the vote, FIFA suspended two executive committee members, Reynald Temarii and Amos Adamu, for soliciting bribes in exchange for votes.
February 7, 2011: Sepp Blatter told the BBC that Qatar and the Spain/Portugal 2018 bid had an agreement to vote for each other. "I'll be honest, there was a bundle of votes between Spain and Qatar. But it was a nonsense. It was there but it didn't work, not for one and not for the other side."
May 10, 2011: Former England FA chairman David Triesman testified to the House of Commons that four FIFA executive committee members—Nicolas Leoz, Jack Warner, Ricardo Teixeira, and Worawi Makudi—requested gifts in return for their votes for the 2018 World Cup. Triesman said Leoz requested to be knighted and Warner wanted £2.5 million in bribes. Makudi is the only one of the four not indicted by the Justice Department in 2015.
That same day, the House of Commons published a letter from a whistleblower who worked with the Qatar bid claiming that they paid $1.5 million to three FIFA executives each to secure their votes. Two months later, the whistleblower identified herself and retracted her claims via a website set up in German called qatarwhistleblower.com.
May 30, 2011: A leaked email between FIFA Secretary General Jerome Valcke and Jack Warner shows Valcke saying the Qatar bid "bought" the 2022 World Cup. Valcke later clarified he meant the country "used its financial muscle to lobby for support."
July 24, 2011: Qatar's Mohamed Bin Hammam, the former FIFA executive committee member and Asian Football Confederation president, is banned for life by FIFA for attempting to bribe Jack Warner while running for FIFA president.
August 14, 2011: the Sunday Times reports Michel D'Hooghe, a member of FIFA's executive committee, received a painting from a member of Russia 2018's lobbying group, a violation of FIFA's rules. Three and a half years later, he will be cleared by FIFA's ethics committee for the painting which is deemed to have "no commercial value, as confirmed by two appraisals." He will also be cleared of wrongdoing for trying to secure a job in Qatar for his son and the son of a friend.
July 17, 2012: FIFA appoints Michael Garcia to investigate the 2018 and 2022 World Cup bids for corruption as one of several anti-corruption measures taken in the wake of the vote.
May 16, 2014: Sepp Blatter says awarding the World Cup to Qatar was a mistake because of the weather. "Yes, it was a mistake of course, but one makes lots of mistakes in life."
May 31, 2014: a Sunday Times investigation reveals Bin Hammam used a slush fund to buy votes for Qatar's World Cup bid.
June 5, 2014: Former UEFA president and executive committee member Michel Platini denies illicit meetings with Bin Hammam regarding his vote. A year later, Platini will admit to meeting with Bin Hammam and other Qatari officials at then-French president Nikolas Sarkozy's official residence a month before the vote.
November 13, 2014: FIFA publishes a 42-page summary of Garcia's 430-page report and clears Qatar to host the 2022 World Cup. The chair of the FIFA ethics committee, Hans-Joachim Eckert, concluded, "The potentially problematic facts and circumstances identified by the report concerning the Qatar 2022 bid were, all in all, not suited to compromise the integrity of the 2018/22 bidding process as whole," which he described as "well thought out, robust and professional."
November 14, 2014: Garcia condemns FIFA's summary as having "numerous materially incomplete and erroneous representations of the facts."
December 17, 2014: Garcia resigns his position as chairman of the investigative chamber of the FIFA Ethics Committee. "No independent governance committee, investigator, or arbitration panel can change the culture of an organization," he said on his way out.
May 27, 2015: Nine FIFA officials are formally indicted on racketeering conspiracy and corruption charges by the US Department of Justice, including several members of the executive committee during the World Cup vote. In December, 16 more FIFA officials will be indicted. After the second indictment, only one voter in the 2018 and 2022 World Cup selection will not be accused or formally indicted of FIFA-related corruption.
June 4, 2015: The FBI and Swiss authorities reveal they have opened criminal investigations into the 2018 and 2022 bids.
October 28, 2015: Blatter, after losing the FIFA presidential election and getting suspended by FIFA, tells Russian news agency TASS that both votes were fixed beforehand—Russia would win 2018 and the United States would get 2022—until Platini's meeting at Sarkozy's residence.
"In 2010 we had a discussion of the World Cup and then we went to a double decision. For the World Cups it was agreed that we go to Russia because it's never been in Russia, eastern Europe, and for 2022 we go back to America. And so we will have the World Cup in the two biggest political powers. And everything was good until the moment when Sarkozy came in a meeting with the crown prince of Qatar, who is now the ruler of Qatar. And at a lunch afterwards with Mr Platini he said it would be good to go to Qatar. And this has changed all pattern."
June 27, 2017: After the German newspaper BILD revealed it had obtained a leaked copy of the Garcia Report, FIFA released the report in full, two and a half years after it obtained and buried it. The three-part, 430-page report confirms previous reporting on the subject and adds many new details. However, as widely suspected, the Garcia Report contains no definitive proof that the 2018 and 2022 World Cup votes were fixed. The investigators, hamstrung by a lack of subpoena power, were forced to rely on witness cooperation which naturally limited the scope of their findings. Instead, it provides a window into FIFA's generally corrupt culture and lack of institutional guidelines. Read VICE Sports's detailed breakdown of the Garcia Report here.