And World Cup 2022 goes to… Qatar?

Freud of Football Roar Rookie

By Freud of Football, Freud of Football is a Roar Rookie

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    While there is no such thing as a sure thing, Qatar at 33/1 to host a World Cup could be the best long-odds bet you ever make. Preposterous? Idiotic?

    I was recently going through some old boxes and I came across some of my older books. One in particular I remembered to be quite a good read was David Yallop’s How They Stole the Game.

    “The book that the FIFA President tried to ban” is a tale of some unimaginable corruption at the highest levels in world football. My favourite was a Brazilian referee who paid $300,000 in back taxes. When asked how he had earned so much, he claimed to have earned over $1 million selling watermelons.

    Yallop is a highly respected investigative journalist and author, and if even half of the claims – many of which he has confirmed from numerous sources – are true, then football is in a sad state indeed.

    The book is particularly critical of former FIFA President Joao Havelange and his anointed successor, Sepp Blatter.

    That Blatter used his power as General Secretary and didn’t declare his intention to run for the position as head honcho until four months out from the election particularly irked the author, who made some very interesting allegations against the Swiss.

    “During the inaugural FIFA/Confederations Cup, a ten-day tournament that took place in Saudi Arabia in December 1997, the General Secretary of FIFA went missing for at least one of those days. Blatter left Riyadh for a secret visit to neighbouring Qatar.

    “There he met in Doha the ruler of the country, Sheikh Hamad bin Khallifa Al-Thani. The Emir had seized power three years ago after deposing his father. Khallifa Al-Thani has a reputation as a moderniser, a man, anxious to open his country’s doors to Western investment. He has bought women into parliament and lifted press censorship.

    “He has opened trade with Israel. This meeting with Blatter was not to discuss private innovations. The subject on the agenda was as old as man. Power and how to acquire it. The solution has been around for a while too. Buy it.

    “I do not know what Blatter offered the Sheikh but I would not be surprised if there is a FIFA announcement in the near future that one of the many meaningless tournaments that the Havelange presidency gave birth to has been scheduled to be held in Qatar.”

    He continues the allegations, noting how Blatter utilised the influence of President Chirac to aid his vote gathering before returning to the Qatari’s.

    “The Emir also ordered his relations who control and run Qatar’s Football Association to do everything within their power to assist Blatter’s election.

    “They began to pick up votes from both the African Confederation and from Asia. Qatar’s FIFA delegate, Mohammed Bin Hammam, who sits on the key FIFA Finance Committee, had an additional task.

    “In the days leading up to the FIFA Congress Hammam functioned as procurer for Blatter. Positioning himself down in the lobby of the hotel, Hammam collared the delegates as they came and went. He extolled the virtues of Sepp Blatter. If he felt the delegates’ attention was wandering, Hammam talked of money. Allegedly he talked of offering $50,000 per vote.”

    “How did they know Hammam could be trusted? Under the circumstances, an appropriate question. An undertaking was given that if Blatter was duly elected, courtesy of the Emir a plane would immediately leave Qatar with $1 million on board. The delegates were assured that they could then come to Hammam and collect their fifty thousand. The figure is not without significance. Between fifteen and twenty delegates were persuaded to exchange the white envelope containing their vote for another containing $50,000. If all of the Emir’s million dollars went in this manner, then the missing twenty votes from Johansson’s tally are accounted for.”

    Blatter won the election and was voted in as a FIFA President, the vote count?

    Blatter 111 – Johansson 90.

    Yallop’s words, written in 1998 and published in ’99 have often been prophetic except for one aspect; FIFA are yet to announce a meaningless tournament in Qatar.

    The gulf nation has hosted a few cups since the book was published, most notably the 2004 Gulf Cup of Nations, but nothing from FIFA.

    And what of the Mohammed Bin Hammam that more-or-less assured Blatter’s election? The name will be familiar to many; he is now the AFC President who agreed to allow Australia to play their football as part of the Asian Federation – yes, one and the same.

    Hammam now has a mighty big favour to call in and don’t think that just because it’s the World Cup it’s above corruption.

    After all, how did Mexico manage to host two World Cup’s inside 16 years? Mexico’s own Rupert Murdoch, Emilo Azcárraga, allegedly befriended FIFA President Havelange and convinced him to confiscate the rights to World Cup 1986 and give them to Mexico, how much money changed hands is the only question that remains.

    So Qatar, a country of 1.5 million which is hardly known for it’s footballing prowess and more for its vast oil reserves may have an ace up its sleeve which many have overlooked.

    I for one wouldn’t be at all surprised to see World Cup 2022 being held in the stifling heat of Doha with Messer’s Blatter and Hammam bidding adieu to the football world, having achieved peace in the Middle East, at least on the pitch and all by FIFA’s motto; “For the game. For the world.”

    David Yallop – How They Stole the Game, London: Poetic Publishing, 1999 – pages 291-293.

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    The Crowd Says (17)

    • November 16th 2009 @ 10:08am
      Albert Ross said | November 16th 2009 @ 10:08am | ! Report

      I had forgotten this book too but it’s a good one and still holds true.

      When Mo bin Hammam threatened Wellington Phoenix’s continued participation in the HA-L in an interview on SBS earlier this year, Onkel Seppi was very quick to throw water on that suggestion. But if Mo has a favour to call in, how much comfort can be derived from those words?

      NZ taking the honours in play off for the worst team to make it to the World Cup, means that there will be no west Asian team in South Africa.. Mo, among others, will not be happy and will be looking to wreak vengeance which I would say would be to kick WP out of the HA-L, look to FIFA to have Oceania play off with UEFA or CONCACAF or even CONMEBOL and ensure 5 AFC teams get to Brazil without let of hindrance. This would give the west Asians heaps of opportunities to rig the AFC qualifiers so that at least two of the west Asian teams with their guest players get through as per the script.

      There is also a real risk that Australia who are both infidels (and and don’t share errr… Asian values after all) will get kicked out of the AFC. Perhaps not this time around but I hear scimitars being sharpened.

      The best we can hope for is that FIFA will reorganize both the AFC and the OFC (and possibly CONCACAF) into two or three super zones and split the 8 places between them.or find a ninth spot somewhere.

    • November 16th 2009 @ 11:29am
      Midfielder said | November 16th 2009 @ 11:29am | ! Report

      I read a lot about the faults of FIFA … many true.

      However given it’s across 204 countries, rich and poor all reglions all cultrues. It has to be a political animal to have it’s rules enforced…Many have said FIFA’s aid program is a model the UN should follow…They do some good things..

      My tho’s in spite of all it’s troubles it normally gets the big ticket items right, even if for the wrong reasons..This is why me thinks the 2018 WC is for Europe and the 2022 between Asia & the US… I think they will vote for Asia and Australia will be Asia’s choice…

      On the issue of Asia kicking us out I cannot see Japan, Keroa & Chins or India wanting us out and they have a big influence on Asian Football.

      Whether Ocenia should be absorbed by Asia is difficult as the isalnd nations cannot afford the travel. .. More the Johnny Warren option as the winner of Oceina going into the playoff stages opf the Asian qualifers.

    • November 16th 2009 @ 11:35am
      True Tah said | November 16th 2009 @ 11:35am | ! Report

      Given that the All Whites pretty much ended the theory of the Gulf States Supermen, I guess if they host the world cup they dont have to qualify.

      Cant see how Qatar would have the facilities to host it alone, it would have to go with the other gulf states.

      • November 16th 2009 @ 2:18pm
        Robbo said | November 16th 2009 @ 2:18pm | ! Report

        If Qatar do get the World Cup they will definitely have the facilities. They are the worlds richest country, although not through hard work but by falling arse first into oil, and can basically afford the build stadiums at will.

    • November 16th 2009 @ 2:38pm
      JamesB said | November 16th 2009 @ 2:38pm | ! Report

      Qatar might be mad enough to build 12 stadiums (and they probably would) and discover a new technology to cool stadiums in 12 years time as well, but you’d have to say its a real long shot. Australia is actually the best chance for 2022 bearing in mind 2018 will return to northern hemisphere and Europe. 2022 has to go to southern hemisphere and after SA and Brazil earlier, there is only really one option. Money is the only issue, and that is not an issue for Qatar,.

    • November 16th 2009 @ 8:22pm
      Richard said | November 16th 2009 @ 8:22pm | ! Report

      I wouldn’t bet against Qatar pulling out a super bid in that period, they certainly pulled out a lot of pomp and circumstance for the Brazil-England players – I don’t remember seeing a red carpet at a stadium just to arrive on before! But for any European gamblers, a pressing concern at the moment is that the EU opens its gambling market before the next World Cup. Many citizens cannot currently choose which bookmaker to use because of protectionist policies, which belittles the concept of consumer rights. The campaign at is petitioning for an open market. Please support it by signing the petition!

      • Roar Guru

        November 16th 2009 @ 9:12pm
        Freud of Football said | November 16th 2009 @ 9:12pm | ! Report

        I hardly think that gambling is a “pressing concern”. I mean really, it’s a sport, gambling has done nothing but ruin it.

        Personally I’d rather never hear of another Andrés Escobar type case but as long as gambling is a part of the game there will always be the risk that something like that happens once more.

    • November 16th 2009 @ 8:42pm
      Rob said | November 16th 2009 @ 8:42pm | ! Report

      Mexico stepped in to host 86 after Colombia couldnt get it together…nothing shonky about that..unlike your research

      • Roar Guru

        November 16th 2009 @ 9:17pm
        Freud of Football said | November 16th 2009 @ 9:17pm | ! Report

        Rob, do you know anything about how Mexico 86? Colombia were getting it together, Havelange did everything is his power to take it away from them and even though the USA desperately wanted to host the tournament – which would have been the more sensible option, to capitilise further on the inroads made by Pele, Beckenbauer etc. – Havelange’s friend got it to Mexico.

        Indeed there was a large earthquake 8 months before the tournament kicked off, Havelange was on the first plane to inspect the stadiums and that was all he commented on in the press, he didn’t care about the thousands of people that died but that his friend would still be able to host the WC.

        Azcárraga supposedly put his private jet at Havelange’s disposal and was more than happy to help Havelange – who performed his role as FIFA President without a salary – with any financial means required.

        • November 16th 2009 @ 9:53pm
          Rob said | November 16th 2009 @ 9:53pm | ! Report

          As it happens Im old enough and Colombian enough to remember it rather well !

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