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Context of 'December 14, 2010: FIFA President Blatter Tells Gay Fans at Qatar World Cup to ‘Refrain from Sexual Activity’'

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Farah Addo, vice president of the Confederation of African Football and president of the Somali Football Federation, alleges that the election of Sepp Blatter as FIFA president in 1998 was marred by bribery. Addo tells the Daily Mail that he was offered $100,000 for his vote. He refused, but “18 African voters accepted bribes to vote for Blatter.” Addo adds that he believes that some people in Blatter’s campaign were involved in the offers, although Blatter himself was not. According to Addo, all 51 African countries initially decided to vote for Blatter’s rival, Lennart Johansson. However: “Then I received a phone call from Somalia’s ambassador to one of the Gulf states. He said: ‘I have a friend who you know who wants to offer you $100,000 to switch your vote. Half in cash and the rest in sports equipment.’ They would send the cash to me or I could go to the Gulf to collect it.” Addo further alleges: “The night before the election people were lining up in Le Meridien Hotel [in Paris] to receive money. Some told me they got $5,000 before the vote and the same the next day, after Blatter won. I made my own private investigation and found that 18 African voters accepted bribes to vote for Blatter.” Mohiadin Hassan Ali, vice president of the Somalian association, confirms the story, saying, “We accepted money to vote on behalf of Somalia FA for J.S. Blatter in the FIFA presidential election in Paris.” [CNN, 2/28/2002]

Entity Tags: Joseph S. Blatter, Confederation of African Football, International Federation of Association Football, Mohiadin Hassan Ali, Somali Football Federation, Farah Addo

Timeline Tags: Football Business and Politics

FIFA and the International Federation of Professional Footballers (FIFPro) sign a memorandum of understanding stating that FIFA and FIFPro have agreed to introduce FIFA’s proposed “6+5” regulations over the course of several seasons. Under the plan each club side would have to have six players qualified to represent the national association to which the club belonged at the start of each match. The other five and all the substitutes could then be foreigners. The plan is controversial because it is a clear breach of regulations on the free movement of labour set out in Article 39 of the Treaty of Rome, which governs the operation of the European Union. [World Sports Law Report, 12/6/2006]

Entity Tags: Fédération Internationale des Associations de Footballeurs Professionnels, International Federation of Association Football

Timeline Tags: Football Business and Politics

FIFA president Sepp Blatter makes a speech to the Soccerex conference in Dubai about a range of current topics. On the issue of video replays, he says he will never allow matches to be halted as long as he remains FIFA president. However, he remains open to goalline technology, provided it delivers an instant answer, and he thinks it may be ready for introduction at the Club World Championship in Tokyo in December 2007. Blatter also dicusses his “6+5” proposal to limit the number of foreigners clubs field. “We believe six plus five will give more incentive to young players,” says Blatter. “All the big clubs have youth departments but there is no chance for these players to play in the first team.… The big clubs with a lot of money can afford to buy the best players. They have 20, 25, sometimes 30 on their list but only 11 can play. What are the others doing? Waiting? Recuperating? Or taking away the chance for other teams to have a better starting eleven? What these rich clubs are doing is taking the best out of market, then not letting them play. Look at the results in some European leagues. Some clubs are already far away after a third of the season, the others can only play to avoid relegation, not for the title. Something is wrong about this.” Blatter also warns of foreign investors buying English clubs, saying: “England must be a very attractive league for investors to take over whole clubs. As long as they are promoting the game in a sensitive way, we are not concerned. But if they are arriving to take the best out of football, rather than to serve it, again something is wrong because when you have so much money, it leads to a distortion as far as the other clubs are concerned.” [Daily Mail, 11/27/2006]

Entity Tags: International Federation of Association Football, Joseph S. Blatter

Timeline Tags: Football Business and Politics

FIFA president Sepp Blatter gives an interview to the German magazine Kicker on a number of reforms for the world game. Blatter thinks that the football season should begin in late February and finish at the end of November, with the longer winter break being used for national team games. “I’ve just proposed to the clubs: play through the summer, make the season like the calendar year,” says Blatter. “This would leave enough time for players to recover and there could be blocks of three weeks of qualifying games in winter.” He claims, “This idea is supported by big European clubs.” In addition, in World Cup qualifying he wants more European groups with less teams qualifying from each group; this would lead to fewer games for national teams, which is what big clubs want. Blatter also expresses support for his “6+5” idea to limit the number of foreigners club teams field. “The ‘6 5’ is coming, for sure,” he says, although it is only to be applied in Europe. “First, it will bring a higher identification between clubs and fans. Second, it would raise the opportunities for talents. And third, the clubs’ finances would benefit if they take players from their own schools.” Such a rule is controversial, because it is contrary to well-established European Union regulations on the free movement of labour. Therefore, Blatter appeals to the EU to stay out of football, although he would like government help creating more transparency in financial structures in international football and its transfer market. Blatter also rejects calls for a salary cap. [Associated Press, 12/4/2006]

Entity Tags: International Federation of Association Football, Joseph S. Blatter

Timeline Tags: Football Business and Politics

On the eve of a crucial European Parliament vote on FIFA’s “6+5” rule to limit the number of foreigners fielded by football clubs, the organization’s president Sepp Blatter holds a roundtable with journalists to promote the regulation. Blatter says that the rule is intended to “protect minors, protect youth training, adapt the transfer system to today’s realities, and ensure tighter control over the actions of players’ agents.” In addition, it will help keep national teams strong and allow youth players to play for their original clubs. Blatter says the rule does not conflict with well-established European Union legislation on the free movement of labor, because “[c]lubs will still be free to take on as many foreign players as they want. When a match kicks off however, they will have to have six players on the pitch who are eligible for the national team of the country in question.” Blatter is critical of UEFA’s 4+4 “home-grown player rule,” as it “does not protect players who are eligible for the national team of the club in question,” and under this system “the richest clubs would merely have to buy players at an even younger age than they are currently doing.” He also points out that on average the five main European leagues (Germany, England, Spain, France, and Italy) already mostly comply with the “6+5” rule, so it would not make much difference to them anyway. Blatter claims that 80 percent of revenues generated by the Champions League go to the competing clubs, and that the “6+5” rule would lead to more equitable distribution, although the mechanism by which this would occur is unclear. Blatter acknowledges that there will be problems implementing the rule, but cites support from other sports organizations and says FIFA needs “to convince the world and the media.” [FIFA, 5/7/2008] The European Parliament vote will go against the “6+5” rule 518 to 49 (see May 8, 2008).

Entity Tags: International Federation of Association Football, Joseph S. Blatter

Timeline Tags: Football Business and Politics

The European Parliament votes 518 to 49 against allowing football authorities to implement the “6+5” proposal, which would limit the number of foreigners fielded by football clubs. The “6+5” rule was championed by FIFA, in particular its president Sepp Blatter (see November 27, 2006 and December 4, 2006). However, the parliament approves the “home-grown player rule” pur forward by UEFA. The “home-grown player rule” is different in that it is the country in which the player was trained, not his nationality that is decisive. Opposition to the “6+5” rule is grounded in the fact that it is in clear conflict with European Union legislation on the free movement of labour (see November 2, 2006). [Independent, 5/9/2008]

Entity Tags: European Parliament

Timeline Tags: Football Business and Politics

Two European commissioners restate their opposition to FIFA’s “6+5” proposal to restrict the number of foreigners fielded by football teams. The statement is issued following a meeting of European sports ministers that FIFA attended. The opposition of Vladimir Spidla and Jan Figel, European commissioners for employment and education respectively, is grounded in the fact that the rule “is based on direct discrimination on the grounds of nationality, and is thus against one of the fundamental principles of EU law.” However, the two commissioners remain “open to discuss ways and means of bringing more balance to the game of football together with FIFA and other interested parties to find a solution that would be compatible with EU law.” Regarding a proposal made by football authorities to ban international transfers of players aged under 18, they have some sympathy for the idea, but “free movement of workers is a fundamental principle of the EU. And a proposal to ban all transfers of under-18s would, at first sight, appear to constitute indirect discrimination in the field of free movement of workers and could be disproportionate in light of the objectives pursued.” [European Commission, 11/28/2008]

Entity Tags: European Commission, International Federation of Association Football, Jan Figel, Vladimir Spidla

Timeline Tags: Football Business and Politics

A report ordered by FIFA from the Institute for European Affairs (INEA) is published stating that FIFA’s “6+5” rule to limit the number of foreigners fielded by football clubs is not illegal under Europan Union law, despite repeated European Union statements to the contrary (see May 8, 2008 and November 28, 2008). “There is no conflict with European law,” INEA chairman Professor Jurgen Gramke tells a press conference. “The 6+5 rule does not impinge on the core area of the right to freedom of movement. The rule is merely a rule of the game declared in the general interest of sport in order to improve the sporting balance between clubs and associations.” The report says that, at worst, the 6+5 rule could constitute “indirect discrimination” because “it is not directly based on the nationality of professional players.” [Institute for European Affairs, 10/24/2008 pdf file; Daily Telegraph, 2/26/2009]

Entity Tags: Institute for European Affairs, Jurgen Gramke

Timeline Tags: Football Business and Politics

FIFA president Sepp Blatter says that homosexual fans attending the 2022 World Cup, planned for Qatar, should “refrain from sexual activity.” The comment is made in response to a question about whether he sees any cultural problems with holding the World Cup in Qatar, where homosexual activity is illegal. According to the BBC, Blatter’s comments are apparently a joke and he then adds seriously that he is sure there will be no problems for homosexuals who decide to attend. Despite this, his comments will be condemned by numerous figures involved in campaigning for lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender rights. [BBC, 12/14/2010]

Entity Tags: International Federation of Association Football, Joseph S. Blatter

Timeline Tags: Football Business and Politics

The Qatari Mohamed Bin Hammam is re-elected president of the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) at the organization’s congress in Doha, Qatar. Bin Hammam has already held the position for two terms. Another result of the AFC elections is that the South Korean Chung Mong-Joon loses his position as vice president of FIFA, being replaced by Prince Ali Bin Al Hussein of Jordan. Chung was known as a critic of FIFA president Sepp Blatter, although it is unclear whether Hussein will offer Blatter any support. [Guardian, 1/6/2011]

Entity Tags: Mohamed bin Hammam, Asian Football Confederation, Mong Joon Chung, Ali Bin Al Hussein

Timeline Tags: Football Business and Politics

Mohamed bin Hammam, the Qatari president of the Asian Football Confederation, tells a press conference that the 2022 World Cup will be held only in Qatar and will not be shared with other neighbouring countries. In addition, it will be held in summer, as originally planned. The comments come in response to suggestions from FIFA president Sepp Blatter and vice president Michel Platini that the tournament should be shared with other Gulf nations. Although bin Hammam does not directly comment on the chances of him standing against Blatter for the position of FIFA president in June, he does mention two of the issues involved; he alludes to both Blatter’s advanced age and the need for FIFA to introduce term limits for the presidency. Bin Hammam implies that FIFA presidents should serve no more than two four-year terms. Blatter’s third term is coming to an end. [Associated Press, 1/29/2011]

Entity Tags: Asian Football Confederation, Joseph S. Blatter, Michel Platini, Mohamed bin Hammam

Timeline Tags: Football Business and Politics

Unsuccessful FIFA presidential candidate Grant Wahl.Unsuccessful FIFA presidential candidate Grant Wahl. [Source: Sports Illustrated]Sports Illustrated journalist Grant Wahl announces a bid for the FIFA presidency, joining the incumbent Sepp Blatter and Asian strongman Mohamed Bin Hammam of Qatar in the race. In order to be on the ballot for the summer election, however, Wahl has to be nominated by one FIFA member by April 1. Wahl criticizes Blatter for the corruption that dogged the recent World Cup bidding process and says that trusting Blatter to clean up the organization is like “trusting a Tour de France winner to oversee cycling’s anti¬doping program.” He also dismisses bin Hamman as “just another FIFA insider.” Wahl’s program is:
bullet Clean up the organization, including “releasing all of its internal documents, WikiLeaks-style, and commissioning an independent investigation using the guidelines of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act”;
bullet Enhancing the role of women in FIFA, including appointing a female general secretary;
bullet Support for instant replay;
bullet The World Cup will be refereed by the best referees, regardless of where they come from, and they will have to explain decisions to the press after games;
bullet Yellow cards will no longer be awarded for removing a shirt following a goal;
bullet A limit of two terms will be imposed on the FIFA president.
While Wahl’s chances of being nominated are slim, he comments, “I actually think I would beat Blatter if the election were left up to the world’s soccer fans (instead of the current system of one vote per FIFA member nation).” [Sports Illustrated, 2/17/2011]

Entity Tags: Mohamed bin Hammam, Grant Wahl, Joseph S. Blatter, International Federation of Association Football

Timeline Tags: Football Business and Politics

FIFA secretary general Jerome Valcke says that Qatar “bought” the right to hold the 2022 World Cup in a private e-mail to FIFA vice president Jack Warner. “For MBH [Mohamed bin Hammam, the leading Qatari football official who is now running for president of FIFA], I never understood why he was running. If really he thought he had a chance or just being an extreme way to express much he does not like anymore JSB [Sepp Blatter, bin Hammam’s opponent in the race]. Or he thought you can buy FIFA as they bought the WC [World Cup].” The e-mail’s date is unknown, but presumably it is written in the early spring of 2011. After the e-mail is made public in a wave of mud-slinging during the presidential election, Valcke will say that he did not mean that Qatar officials actually bribed voters: “I’d like to clarify that I may use in an email—a ‘lighter’ way of expression by nature.… What I wanted to say is that the winning bid used their financial strength to lobby for support.” [Sky News, 5/30/2016]

Entity Tags: International Federation of Association Football, Jack Warner, Jerome Valcke, Mohamed bin Hammam

Timeline Tags: Football Business and Politics

The English Football Association says it will abstain from voting for one of the two candidates, Sepp Blatter and Mohamed bin Hammam, running for the position of president of FIFA. The decision is made because of allegations of corruption made against both men in recent months. “There are a well-reported range of issues both recent and current which, in the view of the FA board, make it difficult to support either candidate,” says the FA in a statement. “The FA values its relationships with its international partners very highly. We are determined to play an active and influential role through our representation within both UEFA and FIFA. We will continue to work hard to bring about any changes we think would benefit all of international football.” [BBC, 5/19/2011]

Entity Tags: Football Association, International Federation of Association Football, Joseph S. Blatter, Mohamed bin Hammam

Timeline Tags: Football Business and Politics

FIFA presidential candidate Mohamed bin Hammam refers his opponent, the incumbent Sepp Blatter, for an ethics invesigation. This follows the opening of an ethics investigation into bin Hammam, who offered bribes to 25 voters in the Caribbean (see May 10, 2011, May 24, 2011, and May 25, 2011). According to bin Hammam, the report into the matter that forms the basis of the charges against him contains “statements according to which Mr Blatter, the incumbent Fifa president, was informed of, but did not oppose, payments allegedly made to members of the Caribbean Football Union.” Reportedly, FIFA vice president Jack Warner, who is also under an ethics investigation, told Blatter of the payments. If this were true, it would be an ethics violation by Blatter, as FIFA officials are under a duty to disclose any evidence of improper conduct to the organization’s secretary general. Bin Hammam’s allegations are first made in a letter to FIFA secretary general Jerome Valcke, but are then reported in the media. [Guardian, 5/26/2011] FIFA’s ethics committee will open an investigation of Blatter (see May 26, 2011).

Entity Tags: Joseph S. Blatter, Jerome Valcke, Mohamed bin Hammam, International Federation of Association Football

Timeline Tags: Football Business and Politics

FIFA president Sepp Blatter says that civil courts should not be used in the dispute with the Swiss club FC Sion. Although operating under a transfer ban (see April 16, 2009), Sion signed several new players (see Summer 2011) and used them to secure a place in the Europa League (see August 25, 2011), which UEFA is now reviewing. “Tell me,” says Blatter, “on what grounds we should grant an exception to a club where millions of others follow the rules?” He adds: “I like the way [FC Sion owner Christian] Constantin makes things happen generally, but one of the fundamental principles of football is not using the civil courts with our internal regulations. FIFA judged the case and found Sion guilty.” [Daily Mail, 8/29/2011]

Entity Tags: Joseph S. Blatter, International Federation of Association Football, FC Sion

Timeline Tags: Football Business and Politics

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