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HOME LOCAL MIDEAST ASIA WORLD BUSINESS SPORT OPINION WRITERS
Abdalla M. Taryam: Vote For Hire
October 27, 2010
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Mark your calendars, as December 2nd will be a big day not only in the UAE but the whole world. Yes it’s the day the mob at FIFA will decide who will have the honour of hosting the 2018 and 2022 World Cups.

Ever since I first realised that FIFA would have a selection process for two consecutive tournaments at the same time I knew we would be in for a roller coaster ride of allegations and investigations.

Here are the rules: bidding nations can apply for either or both tournaments but ultimately the two winning bids cannot be from the same continent. Also bidding nations cannot collude with each other in trading votes.  Sounds simple enough. Actually this set up is just asking for exploitation.

The countries involved in this melee are Australia, England, Japan, Qatar, Russia, South Korea, USA and joint bids by Spain/Portugal and Belgium/Netherlands. Initially nearly all submitted bids for both tournaments but that was never going to last, particularly when it became evident that a European nation was the only option for 2018.

Who didn’t see that one coming? 2010 went to Africa, 2014 going to South America, now really did anybody think Blatter would be able to keep the World Cup away from it’s most important confederation for another 4 years?

Soon enough the non-European bidding nations started declaring their withdrawal from consideration for 2018. There is only one reason for doing so and that is to not waste a vote that could have gone to a ‘friendly’ bid.

Hang on, didn’t the rules forbid nations making deals? So Qatar’s Mohamed Bin Hammam, a member of FIFA’s Executive Committee, publicly saying, “All the bidders are telling me, if you vote for me I will vote for you” must be in breach of those rules. Not only is he admitting the existence of such agreements but he goes on to say  “that must not be surprising to anybody” and that he “will naturally be looking to the interests of Qatar.”

Oh dear, I guess we better call in the FIFA Ethics Committee to investigate the FIFA Executive Committee. Is there something wrong with the previous sentence?

Well the ethics crew is already mixing it up with the executive bunch over the vote selling scandal. That’s right, no FIFA event would be complete without the good old cash swap. See, if you can’t seem to find an ally to swap bulk votes with come UAE national day then maybe you can buy a couple of single votes. Last I heard Amos Adamu was selling his vote for $800,000. Reynald Temarii is also keen on a retirement fund. Even the former FIFA general secretary Michel Zen-Ruffinen has suggested that “ladies” could also influence some member’s votes. Unfortunately for them and the bidding nations a British newspaper exposed them and they have been suspended pending investigations. I wonder which member asked for the ‘lady?’

Here’s an idea, suspend the 2022 bidding process altogether! There is simply no logical reason to award both tournaments at the same time. They should not have even announced the bidding nations for 2022 before the completion of the 2018 selection.

Of course it’s never incompetence from FIFA because their motives are always driven by greed. Their decision on having such a set up surely revolves around striking up better deals as a package.

In my opinion if any country other than England and Australia get the nod for 2018 and 2022 respectively then you can bet your bottom dollar there was something fishy going on in Zurich. What I want to know though is if the participating nations are willing to throw that kind of money to secure the vote why then can’t they give me a free channel to watch it?

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