FIFA officially banned Mohamed bin Hammam for life today after he was found guilty of bribing CONCACAF officials. It’s not that this outcome is bad. Bin Hammam deserved to be banned for life. However, the real crime is that Bin Hammam is just the fall guy in a sport full of corruption.
Corruption in soccer is the worst kept secret in sports. Bribery is commonplace and every major FIFA figure turns a blind eye to it. And it stayed this way until Bin Hammam recently decided to challenge Sepp Blatter for the FIFA Presidency. Bin Hammam had won Qatar the right to host the 2022 World Cup and had the greatest chance of beating Blatter.
Blatter has been president since 1998 and won reelection in 2002 and 2007 unopposed. While rumors of bribery existed in 2002, they were not pursued as no country or individual had any incentive to challenge Blatter, the most powerful man in the sport.
Bin Hammam entered the race this year and was determined to unseat Blatter, who has become more and more unpopular. And in order to win, bin Hammam needed to be the better candidate – aka offer more money. This is where the story gets interesting. Two corrupt candidates running against each other with incentives to rat each other out: Continue reading “FIFA Lets the Corruption Continue”