What happens if an individual makes a claim regarding corruption in sport - most notably football?

Corruption in Sport

Corruption in Sport can take a number of forms but most notably in football surrounds certain payments made during transfer dealings and often payments made to certain referees and officials in the form of bribes.

Situation whereby an individual makes a claim regarding corruption in a particular sport  

Very recently in the sport of football there has been a high profile claim of corruption made by an individual who occupied an extremely lofty position in the Football Association – the national governing body of football in England.

What did the claim relate to?

In this case during a private conversation the individual representing the Football Associated stated that he believed that two other countries who were bidding to host the 2018 World Cup along with England would be undertaking bribery towards the officials during the 2010 World Cup.

Were these comments seen to represent the thoughts and feelings of the Football Association as a whole?

As the comments were recorded from a private conversation these are deemed not to constitute the thoughts and feelings of the Football Association as a whole – a statement was issued not long after the comments became public to that effect.

Furthermore the Football Association quickly sent letters to the others football federations involved to try and resolve the situation.

What has the response been from FIFA in relation to this case?

Despite the comments deemed to be personal opinion and not the thoughts and feelings of the Football Association as a whole FIFA deem it necessary to investigate any claims of bribery as this is an extremely serious allegation. Therefore FIFA has required the ethics committee within their self-regulatory structure to investigate whether there is any substantiation to the claims.

Furthermore FIFA has also written to the Football Association asking them to provide a full report on this matter including the thoughts of the individual who made the comments.

Is there anything else which I should be aware of in this case?

The individual involved in making the comments has stated that he feels that he has been the victim of entrapment as he believed he was having a conversation with a friend which was recorded and subsequently passed on to a national newspaper.

Does this have any bearing on the case in FIFA’s eyes?

FIFA in its capacity as the World governing body of football does not get involved in any claims concerning entrapment as the primary concern of FIFA’s is to ensure the proper functioning of the sport. If there has been any claim of corruption regardless of where this claim originated from it must be investigated by FIFA.

Has this claim had any adverse effect on the individual who made it and the Football Association?

The individual who made the claim subsequently retired from the Football Association due to the damaging effects which has comment could potentially have.

Due to the fact that the comments were made during the proceedings of the Football Association’s bid to host the 2018 World this is deemed to potentially have an adverse effect on FIFA’s decision as to who will host the tournament. Whether this is in fact the case is something which as of yet has not become apparent.