It is very rich when FIFA has to send out a letter telling its member countries bidding to host the 2026 World Cup to refrain from engaging in bribery and corruption in connection with the bid and those countries voting not to accept bribes for their votes. That is exactly what FIFA is reported to have done recently when it was reported that its Secretary General Fatama Samoura, warned countries voting on the bid not to accept support (IE. bribes) “which might unduly affect the integrity of the bidding procedure.”
The specific issue turns on a bid by Morocco to host the 2026 World Cup. Morocco has bid on the last five World Cups and there are allegations that at least two of those bid efforts included attempts to bribe members of the Executive Board. In the 2026 selection, voting has been opened up to include all 206 FIFA member countries, in an attempt to bring a more honest process to the determination of which country should host the 2026 event. Yet, even with the new voting, Morocco is apparently playing fast and loose with the rules as there is an attempt to get Africa wide block support for Morocco’s bid.
Given the corrupt nature of the entire organization, one might wonder why FIFA would even bother to send out such a letter. It turns out all you have to do is follow the money or in FIFA’s case the lack of money. It turns out that FIFA has been bleeding money with all the investigations and fallout from the corruption and money-laundering arrests back in 2015. Moreover, with the next two World Cups headed for Russia (2018) and Qatar (2022) and FIFA’s battered reputation, sponsors have been somewhat less than forthcoming for these two events. Apparently FIFI is banking (literally) on a 2026 World Cup in the Americas to enhance its coffers. Of course, it would also help if the host country qualified for the event, as the US team failed to do for the 2018 World Cup.
Is the FIFA letter effective training? Under the FCPA there must be more than simple communication of instructions not to engage in bribery and corruption. Yet, FIFA only wagged its finger and said do not engage in bribery and corruption. The Man From FCPA can only wonder if FIFA really does want to change its culture.