Sunday, January 8, 2012

FIFA Responds to Warner's $1 Rights Allegation

FIFA has responded to Jack Warner's allegations that he was able to purchase TV rights to the 1998 World Cup for $1 in exchange for supporting FIFA president Sepp Blatter (both seen above in friendlier times):
FIFA replied that Warner had been awarded television rights for Trinidad since 1986 and that it was normal practice at the time for them to be provided for only a symbolic fee.

"Until 1998, TV rights were provided by the rights-holders for symbolic sums in many territories (for example in Africa), in order to maximise the worldwide television coverage and also to support national associations and confederations with a source of revenue for football development," it said.

It added: "Jack Warner obtained the TV rights for the FIFA World Cup in the Caribbean, for the purpose of supporting football development in the Caribbean Football Union, already in 1986, and not 1998.

"Such rights were ceded in order to provide an additional source of revenue for football development in the CFU."

It added: "TV rights for the 2002 FIFA World Cup in the Caribbean were approved by the FIFA executive committee at their November and December 2001 meetings, not after the 2002 elections."
We have a situation of he said-they said -- which is utterly impossible for any observer to make sense of without further information. At least one close observer is not satisfied with FIFA's response --Damian Collins, British MP says:
"[FIFA] have not provided satisfactory answers to these questions at all, especially as to why TV rights to World Cup finals have been handed out to senior members of Fifa's executive committee."
Whatever the truth of the matter, there is an important lesson here. Transparency in business dealings is no just a good idea, but it can protect an organization against allegations.

If Warner is correct in his allegations, then great transparency would have prevented the corruption from occurring in the first place.

If FIFA is correct in its refutation, then greater transparency would protect the organization from false clases, which would be more easily refuted.

Either way, greater transparency makes very good sense.


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