Deeply corrupt Asian Football Confederation backs Blatter as FIFA sponsors are silent

Qatar has the World Cup in 2022 partly because the former President of the Asian Football Confederation (and Vice President of FIFA) orchestrated the efforts to make it so. The AFC is entirely in the hands of oil money and is perhaps the most opaque of all the World’s football federations. That the corrupt football federations around the world now support Blatter is only to be expected.

FIFA sponsors

But why are the FIFA sponsors so silent? Adidas, Coca Cola, Gazprom, Hyundai/Kia, Visa, Budweiser and McDonalds. Sony had the sense to withdraw in 2014. FIFA received some $1.6 billion from these sponsors in 2014. That they don’t know about FIFA’s practices is virtually impossible. That they are directly complicit in these practices may not be so clear but some of their money is certainly flowing into some administrators’ pockets.

Yesterday the AFC put out a statement supporting Sepp Blatter for President of FIFA and resisting any suggestion that the Presidential election scheduled for Friday should be postponed.

The Asian Football Confederation expresses its disappointment and sadness at Wednesday’s events in Zurich whilst opposing any delay in the FIFA Presidential elections to take place on Friday May 29 in Zurich.

The AFC is against any form of corruption in football …….. blah …… blah ……. whilst recognising that there is still much work to do.

Furthermore, the AFC reiterates its decision taken at the AFC Congress in Sao Paulo in 2014, endorsed at subsequent Congresses in Melbourne and Manama in 2015, to support FIFA President Joseph S. Blatter.

But the AFC is itself a hotbed of corruption and so perhaps their support of Sepp Blatter and the status quo is only to be expected. The former President of the AFC is heavily implicated in improprieties with the awarding of the 2022 World Cup to Qatar. He could not finally be protected by even his friends in FIFA and was removed from office in 2012.

HuffPo: Media reports of questionable payments by a company owned by banned former world soccer body FIFA vice president and Asian Football Confederation (AFC) president Mohammed Bin Hammam to another disgraced former FIFA executive committee member, Jack Warner, raise renewed questions about Qatar’s controversial winning of the right to host the 2022 World Cup as well the integrity of FIFA and the AFC’s efforts to root out corruption.

The Daily Telegraph reported that the Doha-based Kemco Group wholly owned by Mr. Bin Hammam, a Qatari national who was banned by FIFA in 2012 because of “conflicts of interest” during his AFC presidency and FIFA vice presidency, had paid some $2 million to former FIFA vice president Jack Warner and others related to him shortly after Qatar was awarded the World Cup.

Three weeks ago the President of the AFC, Sheikh Salman Bin Ebrahim Al Khalifa of Bahrain, who is a Vice President of FIFA was re-elected in Bahrain amid corruption allegations. Sepp Blatter spoke in Bahrain but his opponents for the FIFA presidency were not allowed to speak.

Sheikh Salman Bin Ebrahim Al Khalifa has been elected president of the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) for a second term and vice president of world soccer body FIFA amid unanswered questions about the AFC’s handling of corruption investigations and his apparent failure to enforce good governance in his own organization as well as among its members.

In an indication of the AFC’s apparent weak adherence to standards of propriety, the group decided to move the congress at which Sheikh Salman was re-elected from Kuala Lumpur to Bahrain, the candidate’s home country, even before it became clear that he would not be challenged in the election. …… 

The AFC’s non-transparent, manipulative politics were on display at the Bahrain congress, reaffirming former AFC general secretary Peter Velappan’s assessment in 2011 that “there is no democracy in AFC.” Sheikh Salman prevented Korean football association president Chong Mong-gyu from expressing criticism of gerrymandering of elections for Asian representatives in FIFA’s executive committee that ensured that Kuwaiti Sheikh Ahmad Al Fahad Al Sabah, one of the most powerful figures in international sports, won the seat that could position him for a candidacy for president of the world soccer body in 2019. Sheikh Salman argued that such criticism would assault the AFC’s integrity and respect.

Similarly, FIFA president Sepp Blatter was allowed to address the congress as well as a gala dinner but his challengers in next month’s FIFA presidential elections were not.

And just 2 weeks ago the Secretary General of the AFC was suspended for allegations that he tried to hide evidence about the former President’s corruption:

ESPN: The Asian Football Confederation says that deputy general secretary Windsor John has replaced suspended general secretary Alex Soosay while the governing body investigates corruption allegations.

Soosay is accused of asking another official to hide documents during a review of AFC practices under disgraced former president Mohamed bin Hammam three years ago.

The claims were made last week by a Malaysian newspaper, the Malay Mail.

“Asian Football Confederation General Secretary Dato’ Alex Soosay was today suspended by the AFC following media allegations which have recently surfaced concerning a case in 2012,” said a statement released on Wednesday.

“A video statement conducted as part of a FIFA investigation was passed to media recently and the AFC has now been able to verify its authenticity.”

The Malay Mail reported that the video showed a conversation between AFC financial director Bryan Kuan Wee Hoong and FIFA investigator Michael John Pride in which Kuan refers to a discussion he had with Soosay in 2012.

When will the sponsors wake up? In this morass, silence is acquiescence.

 

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