FIFA trial: FBI could step in to probe award of 2022 World Cup for Qatar

FIFA president Joseph Blatter opens the envelope to reveal that Qatar will host the 2022 World Cup at the FIFA headquarters in Zurich on December 2, 2010. (AFP)

On the seventh day of the FIFA corruption trial unfolded in New York on Tuesday, the American jury acquitted a former soccer boss from Peru, who was free to gladly fly home, while two co-defendants stood convicted and awaited behind bars to hear their sentencing.

Sixty-year-old Manuel Burga, a former chief of Peru’s soccer federation and an ex-FIFA development committee member, was cleared on one count of racketeering conspiracy.

The jury returned the verdict following the Christmas holiday after convicting Jose Maria Marin, former head of Brazil’s Football Confederation and Juan Angel Napout, former head of Paraguayan football on Friday. They were previously deadlocked on Burga. 

Plea bargains  

Meanwhile, 24 of the 42 individuals indicted in May 2015 have cut deals in return for guilty pleas -- two of whom have already been sentenced.

Another 15 remain in their own countries, including Brazilian football confederation president Marco Polo Del Nero, who was this month banned from soccer for 90 days.

During the trial testimonies in the New York courtroom there were dramatic testimonies from those involved, including multiple references to involvements in systemic corruption relating to the award of the right to host the 2022 World Cup Final.

The award was made to Qatar at the FIFA headquarters in Zurichon December 2, 2010.

FIFA has taken the position that it too has been the “victim of a fraud” and as such, will pursue civil actions against those found guilty of charges relating to “FIFA business.”

That is the easy part, according to many experts. However, the real dilemma for FIFA is how to proceed regarding the allegations made in the New York court of Qatar paying for 2022 World Cup votes.

With the US judicial system involved, the FBI will in all likelihood be looking at the goings on at FIFA leading up to the vote for thr 2022 World Cup.

Declan Hill, a British journalist, academic who calls himself an “expert on match-fixing in football”, and author of “The Fix and The Insider's Guide to Match Fixing”, tweeted: “With 2 court convictions & 20+ plea bargains for FIFA execs. Questions: 1. Will the FBI investigate the allegations of Qatar corruption? 2. Will the FBI look at the US banks who helped those executives? Or will the US banks be presumed innocent?”

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Last Update: 19:04 KSA 22:04 - GMT 19:04
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