Fifa's 'dirty secrets'

 

A chara, – There has been an immediate backlash by some against the Panorama Programme: Fifa’s Dirty Secrets, (Sport, November 30th) which made very serious allegations against three Fifa executive committee members, involving monies in the region of $100 million (€64.2 million).

There was a similar backlash against the media who “outed” the two officials now barred from voting on which country will get the World Cup following allegations of seeking bribes for their votes.

The same members of our own sports commentary teams who talk up “the millions of euro in having a World Cup” surprisingly ignore the eight secret guarantees that governments have to sign up to when they make their bids.

These “secret” criteria were “outed” by the Dutch government but not by the UK government and so there remains the question: who actually does gain financially from hosting the World Cup and what is the moral cost? What “screams out” is the seeming lack of interest in the veracity of the allegations. It is very much, see no evil, hear no evil and speak no evil.

The sole focus and insinuation is that any “outing” of alleged wrong- doing is almost an act of treason at worst and sabotage at best.

The “keep your head down until after Thursday” (when the host of the 2018 and 2022 World Cup finals will be announced) attitude ignores the other very serious points made in the same Panoramaprogramme that have a public interest.

I have tried to get some recognition for the Council of Europe committee that I chair, which has been asked to look into the feasibility of having an international agency to oversee corruption in sport, that would protect sport from organised crime in a similar manner to World Anti-Doping Agency’s protection against drugs.

Virtually none of the sports media or media generally have taken anything other than a head-in-the-sand approach. In the face of the growing evidence, the books being written, which are leading to the court cases being taken, I am left with the simple question: “Why?” Colluding to ignore what is going on (note ongoing court case in Germany for four people alleged to be involved in fixing 300 matches) will not assist sport. – Is mise,

Senator CECILIA KEAVENEY,

President Youth and Sports Committee,

Council of Europe,

Seanad Éireann, Dublin 2.