Michel Platini’s recent detainment for questioning in Paris is just the latest massive development surrounding the investigation into corruption at FIFA and the unbelievable awarding of the 2022 World Cup to Qatar.
Platini, a former UEFA president, is one of 22 men who voted on where the World Cup finals would take place in 2018 and 2022. When Russia and Qatar were announced as the winners, calls of corruption were rife and now it seems those calls were absolutely justified.
The corruption investigation that followed has been extensive, casting a huge shadow over football and its governing body. Of those 22 FIFA executives, 16 have either been banned, accused of or indicted for criminal corruption, involved in FBI cases or accused of ethical violations but not faced conviction. Quite incredible.
So, who are they and what happened to them?
The most famous of those FIFA executives to have voted for where the 2022 tournament would be held was then FIFA president Sepp Blatter, who was banned for six years for approving a £1.35million payment to Platini, who also received a four year ban from all FIFA activities over the same payment.
Jack Warner, former president of CONCACAF, and Chuck Blazer of the US were two other high-profile names to fall foul of the anti-corruption investigation. Warner received a lifetime ban having been found to have taken bribes and was indicted in the US, whilst Blazer, who died two years ago, took £21m in bribes and was convicted of tax evasion before becoming a whistleblower for the FBI.
Franz Beckenbauer is currently under the microscope in separate investigations for the 2018, 2022 and 2006 World Cup bids, but he maintains his innocence.
Another of the FIFA executives, Russian representative, Vitaly Mutko, has been the deputy prime minister of Russia since 2016 and was heavily involved in the Russian doping scandal, according to an independent report. He also has a lifetime Olympic ban from the IOC.
Nicolas Leoz of Paraguay was indicted in the US investigation and is still battling extradition, whilst Ricardo Teixeira was also charged by US authorities but has not been extradited.
The former head of African football, Issa Hayatou, was accused of taking bribes in the 1990s by BBC programme Panorama, and The Sunday Times published claims that he had taken £1.2m in bribes for his Qatar 2022 vote.
Angel Maria Villar Lloma, a Spanish representative, was fined and warned by the FIFA ethics committee in 2015 for not cooperating with the investigation into the bidding race for the 2018 and 2022 World Cups.
Qatari’s sole representative, Mohammed bin Hammam, who was pivotal in securing the 2022 tournament, was banned for life by the FIFA ethics committee seven years ago.
FIFA are currently chasing £4m in salary and expenses that were paid to Rafael Salguero, who is under house arrest after admitting criminal conspiracy, and Julio Grondona, who died in 2014, was accused of sanctioning a £8m bribe.
Worawi Makudi is serving a five-year ban from FIFA for forgery in his bid to be re-elected as the Thai federation member, and finally Chung Moon Joon, founder of Hyundai, is now back in football having served an 18 month ban for offences during the South Korean 2022 World Cup bid.
What a fine collection of upstanding, law-abiding men FIFA employed. The remaining six FIFA representatives, who voted in the 2018 and 2022 World Cup bids, have not been prosecuted or accused by the authorities. One of which is Geoff Thompson who headed up the England bid to host the 2018 World Cup, retiring shortly afterwards.
One of the most corrupt gangs in sport is finally being dismantled, but the damage has been done for generations.