International soccer’s governing body has always been a punchline for corruption in sports. They make the NCAA look like UNICEF. Even the International Olympic Committee looks honest next to soccer. But in truth, the scale of FIFA’s corruption defies any sports context.
Sepp Blatter and co. are in a league of their own here. FIFA’s the organization that yields a fortune thanks to massive tax exemptions… And then doubles their money with bribes from forgein governments. All of which brings us to the New York Times piece today, which takes a closer look at FIFA’s reputation. After the jump, we take their findings by the numbers.
Three cheers for evil!
24. The number of men who comprise the FIFA executive committee. The representatives–all of whom are male–hail from countries all over the world.
9 out of 24. The number of FIFA executives who have been accused of bribery in the past two years. Currently under fire? Mohamed bin Hammam of Qatar, whose country won the rights to host the 2022 World Cup.
1990s. That’s when a former British soccer player, Graham Taylor, briefly served on the executive committee and reported the following scene at a FIFA reception:
During the course of a committee meeting in Switzerland that opened with «a five-star welcome dinner, and then a five-star lunch» after the meeting the next day, he was struck by an unusually open ritual in which members started gathering in line.«We queued up like good little boys and collected our cash,» Taylor said. «One man in the line told me to claim my flight although it had already been paid for by my football association. He said: ‘Claim everything and then open up a Swiss bank account. Over the years the money will accumulate.’ «
$300,000. The amount of money Australia paid FIFA, as part of a «legacy» program that encourages nations to help finance international soccer development in return for better standing with FIFA, and a better chance at hosting a World Cup in the future.
10% and millions of dollars annually. One FIFA executive, American Chuck Blazer, helped expose the bribery scandal that’s currently engulfing Qatar’s bin Hammam. All well and good, right? Until Blazer’s own scandal broke this past weekend… Again from the New York Times:
…his offshore company, Sportvertising, received 10 percent of the sponsorship and TV rights fees for the Confederation of North, Central American and Caribbean Association Football. Blazer’s company, registered in the Cayman Islands, collected checks for millions of dollars annually.
$2.5 million. The FIFA money demanded from British officials seeking a World Cup bid in 2018. The money was ostensibly for the creation of a school in Trinidad and Tobago, but would be funneled through FIFA.
$1.2 billion. FIFA’s annual revenue from TV rights and merchandising.
$1.3 billion. FIFA’s estimated endowment in 2011.
$32.6 million. The «short-term employee benefits» distributed executives and other management this year. This raised some eyebrows because of the «bountiful» tax exemption FIFA gets from Switzerland.
$300,000. The size of bonuses paid to FIFA executives, on top of benefits and annual salary.
Unkown. The annual salary information for the Executive Committee, which gathers only a handful of times each year, and makes their biggest decisions in four-year increments.
Three. So…Three cheers for evil again! Three cheers for the good of the game!