Thursday, September 15, 2011

More Trouble at FIFA

Another day, another suite of allegations surrounding FIFA officials.  Here is a round-up:

The Bangkok Post reports:
Fifa has asked Thai official Worawi Makudi to explain allegations that money from development grants were spent building facilities on land that he owned, football's governing body confirmed Wednesday.

Fifa said in a statement it had requested an explanation from Worawi, a member of the organisation's executive committee and one of the most influential men in Asian football.

The statement said Worawi could face a possible ethics investigation if there is any evidence to support claims against the official.

Allegations in Thailand have said the country's national football centre was built with money from Fifa's GOAL development programme on land owned by Worawi, who also owns land around the centre.

"We can confirm that Fifa is currently seeking clarification with Mr Makudi on the issue of the Fifa Goal projects in Thailand. Fifa has sent a letter to Mr Makudi and is following up on this matter," a Fifa statement said.
On the subject of FIFA's Ethics Committee, Australian journalist Jesse Fink reports that Les Murry, an Australian journalist and member of the FIFA Ethics Committee, may have his own ethical issues:
[T]his week Murray told a porky on Australian television. And on no less than the ABC's Four Corners, Australia's equivalent of BBC's Panorama or PBS's Frontline.
He was asked, in his capacity as editorial supervisor of sport at SBS, whether there was a "preferred editorial policy" to support Australia's failed World Cup bid. He said there was not.

"SBS [was a] supporter of the bid, but that never was allowed to interfere with editorial independence or editorial process," he told reporter Quentin McDermott.

"No, we had never declared any kind of editorial policy to support the bid." Yet as Four Corners' sister programme 7.30 proved in July, there was.

I know, because as a former SBS freelancer and top-rating columnist for its football website The World Game, I received an email from Murray as far back as June 2008 that outlined a "preferred editorial policy".
The email read: "It is not a good look if we, SBS, the most powerful voice in football appear to talk down the bid or declare it stillborn.

"Given that the bid has great support in Australia, including enthusiastic support by all governments, my preferred editorial policy would be to support it."

The Four Corners interview was filmed before the 7.30 story. Murray would not be interviewed by 7.30 and prior to the programme being aired reportedly had lawyers send a letter to the ABC stating he was ready to institute legal proceedings.

So the question needs to be asked and asked loudly from the rooftops: Does a member of the FIFA ethics committee stating to camera something that has been proven to be false constitute a breach of ethics?

How is such behaviour becoming of an official whose job it is to sit in judgment of the ethics of others?
See more from Fink here.


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