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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’s Dispute Resolution Chamber hands down a ruling punishing the Swiss club FC Sion and its Egyptian goalkeeper Essam El Hadary over Al Hadary’s transfer from the Egyptian club Al Ahly in February 2008. The goalkeeper is banned for four months, starting from the next season, and Sion is ordered to pay Al Ahly a transfer fee of US$1.25 million and also prevented from registering new players for two transfer windows, i.e. more than a year. The move was illegal under FIFA regulations because El Hadary was under contract with Al Ahly and there was no agreement between the clubs. FC Sion says it will appeal the ruling. [BBC, 6/2/2009; Court of Arbitration for Sport, 6/1/2010 pdf file]

Entity Tags: FC Sion, Al Ahly, Essam El Hadary, International Federation of Association Football, Dispute Resolution Chamber (FIFA)

Timeline Tags: Football Business and Politics

The Court of Arbitration for Sport rules against the Swiss club FC Sion and its goalkeeper Essam El Hadary in a dispute over the player’s transfer from the Egyptian club Al Ahly two years ago. The decision confirms a ruling of FIFA’s Dispute Resolution Chamber (see April 16, 2009) that ordered compensation to be paid to Al Ahly for the transfer and banned Sion from signing new players for two transfer windows. Although the original ruling is altered in some minor ways, the transfer ban remains in force. [Court of Arbitration for Sport, 6/1/2010 pdf file]

Entity Tags: Al Ahly, Court of Arbitration for Sport, Essam El Hadary, FC Sion

Timeline Tags: Football Business and Politics

FIFA’s executive committee votes to award the 2022 World Cup finals to Qatar, which receives an absolute majority in the fourth round of the ballot. Australia, Japan, and South Korea have already been eliminated in previous rounds (see Around 2:30 p.m. December 2, 2010, Around 2:30 p.m. December 2, 2010, and Around 2:30 p.m. December 2, 2010). The full results of the fourth round and the FIFA executive committee members who voted for the various potential hosts are:
bullet United States: eight votes. Chuck Blazer (USA).
bullet Qatar: 14 votes. Mohamed bin Hammam (Qatar). [BBC, 12/2/2010; BBC, 12/2/2010]
The other FIFA executive committee members who vote are Sepp Blatter (Switzerland), Jack Warner (Trinidad and Tobago), Senes Erzik (Turkey), Marios Lefkaritis (Cyprus), Jacques Anouma (Ivory Coast), Franz Beckenbauer (Germany), Mong Joon Chung (South Korea), Geoff Thompson (England), Rafael Salguero (Guatemala), Issa Hayatou (Cameroon), Michel D’Hooghe (Belgium), Michel Platini (France), Angel Maria Villar Llona (Spain), Julio Grondona (Argentina), Ricardo Teixeira (Brazil), Nicolas Leoz (Paraguay), Worawi Makudi (Thailand), Hany Abo Rida (Egypt), Junji Ogura (Japan), and Vitaly Mutko (Russia). [BBC, 12/2/2010]

Entity Tags: Geoff Thompson, Nicolas Leoz, Franz Beckenbauer, Ricardo Terra Teixeira, Senes Erzik, Vitaly Mutko, Mong Joon Chung, Angel Maria Villar Llona, Worawi Makudi, Chuck Blazer, Rafael Salguero, Michel D’Hooghe, Michel Platini, International Federation of Association Football, Hany Abo Rida, Issa Hayatou, Jack Warner, Mohamed bin Hammam, Joseph S. Blatter, Junji Ogura, Julio Grondona, Marios Lefkaritis, Jacques Anouma

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 Swiss club FC Sion, which has been prohibited by the game’s ruling bodies from signing new players (see June 1, 2010), buys no new players during the winter transfer window. The only change the club makes during this period is that the player Didier Crettenand is given a new contract. [Swiss Football League, 2011] However, the club will buy players during the next transfer window, breaching the transfer ban (see Summer 2011).

Entity Tags: FC Sion

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

A federal Swiss court rejects appeals lodged by the club FC Sion and goalkeeper Essam El Hadary against decisions of FIFA’s Dispute Resolution Chamber and the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS). Both FIFA and CAS had ruled that Sion and El Hadary had broken the rules over the player’s transfer from the Egyptian club Al Ahly to Switzerland in 2008 (see April 16, 2009 and June 1, 2010). As a result of the two rulings, compensation was to be paid to Al Ahly and Sion was banned from transfer activity for two transfer windows. As the appeals are rejected, the CAS ruling remains in force. [FIFA, 1/19/2011] It is against FIFA’s statutes for a dispute to be brought before a civil court. [BBC Scotland, 8/16/2011]

Entity Tags: FC Sion, Essam El Hadary, International Federation of Association Football, Al Ahly

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

A $40,000 bribe paid on behalf of Mohamed bin Hammam to Fred Lunn, vice president of the Bahamas FA.A $40,000 bribe paid on behalf of Mohamed bin Hammam to Fred Lunn, vice president of the Bahamas FA. [Source: FIFA] (click image to enlarge)Following an address to the Caribbean Football Union (CFU) by FIFA presidential candidate Mohamed bin Hammam, $40,000 bribes are handed out to CFU member offcials in an attempt to get them to vote for bin Hammam. The meeting is held at the Hyatt Regency hotel in Trinidad, where bin Hammam, who had paid for the officials’ travel and accommodation, presents his manifesto. Following the pitch, the officials, from 25 football associations, representing 25 votes out of 208, are asked to go into a conference room. The first to enter is Fred Lunn, vice president of the Bahamas FA. He is handed a large brown envelope and, when he opens it, according to a later affidavit, “stacks of US$100 fell out and on to the table.” Lunn is not authorized to accept such a gift, but is urged to do so by a CFU official. After accepting the money, he texts his superior, Bahamas FA president Anton Sealey. Sealey then calls him to say that “under no circumstances would the Bahamas FA accept such a cash gift.” Lunn takes a picture of the money and then returns to the conference room. There he finds a queue of officials waiting to collect their bribes, which prompts him to again text Sealey: “[A] lot of the boys taking the cash, this is sad given the breaking news on the TV CNN [about corruption charges in the 2022 World Cup bid process].… I’m truly surprised its happening at this conference.” Sealey’s reply is: “I’m disappointed but not surprised. It is important that [we] maintain our integrity when the story is told. That money will not make or break our association. You can leave with your head high.” The next morning Lunn attends a CFU meeting addressed by FIFA vice president and CONCACAF president Jack Warner. “Mr Warner stated that he had instructed Mr Bin Hammam to bring the cash equivalent of any gift he had intended to bring for the people attending this meeting,” Lunn will later say in the affidavit. “Mr Warner then stated that the money could be used for any purpose… for grass-roots programs or any purpose the individuals saw fit.” By this time Sealey has informed CONCACAF official Chuck Blazer, who will have a report prepared into the matter at the request of FFIA secretary general Jerome Valcke and then go public with the allegations (see May 24, 2011). [Press Association (London), 5/30/2011]

Entity Tags: Jack Warner, Anton Sealey, Caribbean Football Union, Jerome Valcke, Chuck Blazer, Mohamed bin Hammam, Fred Lunn

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

Chuck Blazer, an American member of FIFA’s executive committee, goes public with allegations that Mohamed bin Hammam, one of two candidates in the forthcoming election for FIFA’s presidency, gave bribes to as many as two dozen voters. Blazer alleges that Jack Warner, the president of the North American football grouping CONCACAF of which Blazer is general secretary, was involved. According to Blazer, at a meeting of the Carribean Football Union (CFU) Hammam, aided by Warner and two other CFU officials, Debbie Minguell and Jason Sylvester, offered cash to CFU members in return for voting for him (see May 10, 2011). [Press Association (London), 5/25/2011]

Entity Tags: International Federation of Association Football, Chuck Blazer, Debbie Minguell, Jack Warner, Confederation of North, Central American and Caribbean Association Football, Jason Sylvester, Mohamed bin Hammam

Timeline Tags: Football Business and Politics

FIFA announces that its ethics committee will investigate two members of the organization’s executive committee, Mohamed bin Hammam and Jack Warner, as well as two Carribean Football Union officials, Debbie Minguell and Jason Sylvester. The announcement follows allegations of vote-buying made by fellow executive committee member Chuck Blazer (see May 24, 2011). The officials are to attend an ethics committee meeting in four days’ time to discuss the allegations. Bin Hammam is currently running for FIFA president, with the election scheduled to take place next week. Bin Hammam’s rival is the Swiss Sepp Blatter, so the ethics committee hearing will not be attended by its chairman, Claudio Sulser, who is also Swiss. Instead the meeting will be chaired by Petrus Damaseb, a judge from Namibia and the committee’s deputy chairman. [Press Association (London), 5/25/2011]

Entity Tags: Confederation of North, Central American and Caribbean Association Football, Petrus Damaseb, Claudio Sulser, Jason Sylvester, Mohamed bin Hammam, Chuck Blazer, Debbie Minguell, Jack Warner, International Federation of Association Football, FIFA Ethics Committee

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’s ethics committee opens an investigation into the organization’s president, Sepp Blatter. The investigation was proposed by Blatter’s presidential rival in a forthcoming election, Mohamed bin Hammam (see May 26, 2011). According to bin Hammam, Blatter knew of but did not oppose bribes bin Hammam is said to have offered 25 presidential voters. Blatter did not report the bribes, although FIFA’s code of ethics apparently places a duty to report such conduct on all officials. [Daily Telegraph, 5/27/2011] The ethics committee will clear Blatter of the allegations, saying the bribes had not actually been paid when he learned of them, so there was no duty to report (see May 29, 2011).

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

Timeline Tags: Football Business and Politics

Jack Warner, vice president of FIFA and president of the CONCACAF grouping of North and Central American football associations, promises a “football tsunami” of dirty laundry if an ethics committee hearing goes against him. Warner is facing bribery charges due to an alleged attempt by FIFA presidential candidate Mohamed bin Hammam to bribe Carribean voters (see May 25, 2011). “I tell you something, in the next couple days you will see a football tsunami that will hit FIFA and the world that will shock you,” says Warner in Port of Spain. “The time has come when I must stop playing dead so you’ll see it, it’s coming, trust me. You’ll see it by now and Monday. I have been here for 29 consecutive years and if the worst happens, the worst happens.” Warner also insists he is not guilty of a “single iota of wrongdoing,” says he he could walk away from FIFA, as “you must never get too attached to anything,” claims, “I am wielding more power in FIFA now than sometimes even the president, I must be the envy of others,” and adds that he voted for the US to hold the 2022 World Cup finals (see Around 2:30 p.m. December 2, 2010). [Daily Telegraph, 5/28/2011]

Entity Tags: Confederation of North, Central American and Caribbean Association Football, Jack Warner, International Federation of Association Football

Timeline Tags: Football Business and Politics

At a hearing on bribery allegations, FIFA’s ethics committee clears the organization’s president Sepp Blatter of wrongdoing, but provisionally suspends his presidential rival Mohammed bin Hammam, FIFA vice president Jack Warner, and two other officials. The allegations stemmed from a meeting in early May, when bin Hammam, aided by Warner and the other two officials, Debbie Minguell and Jason Sylvester of the Caribbean Football Union, paid voters to support bin Hammam (see May 10, 2011). The allegations were broken by FIFA executive committee member Chuck Blazer, leading to ethics referrals for the five officials (see May 25, 2011 and May 26, 2011). According to Namibian judge Petrus Damaseb, who chairs the committee meeting, Blatter is not guitly of the charges against him—that he knew of the bribes, but failed to report them—because he only knew of them in advance. Damaseb says, “The committee took the view that the obligation to report did not arise because at that stage no wrongdoing had occurred.” [ESPN, 5/29/2011] The relevant section of FIFA’s ethics code states, “Officials shall report any evidence of violations of conduct to the FIFA secretary general, who shall report it to the competent body.” [FIFA, 2009 pdf file] According to the ethics committee, there is therefore no duty under the code to report forthcoming violations of ethics. However, the committee decides that the other four officials have a case to answer and are provisionally suspended from all football-related activity. [ESPN, 5/29/2011]

Entity Tags: International Federation of Association Football, FIFA Ethics Committee, Debbie Minguell, Petrus Damaseb, Jason Sylvester, Joseph S. Blatter, Mohamed bin Hammam

Timeline Tags: Football Business and Politics

The Swiss club FC Sion signs several new players, despite an apparent transfer ban. The new players are Guilherme Afonso (from Lugano), Pascal Feindouno (Monaco), Gabriel Garcia De La Torre (aka “Gabri,” Umm-Salal), Stefan Glarner (Thun), José Gonçalves (St. Gallen), Billy Ketkeophomphone (Strasbourg), and Mario Mutsch (Metz). [Swiss Football League, 2011] The transfer ban was to last for two transfer windows (see April 16, 2009 and June 1, 2010). Sion signed several players the previous summer (see Summer 2010), but nobody arrived during the winter transfer window (see January 2011).

Entity Tags: FC Sion

Timeline Tags: Football Business and Politics

The qualification committee of the Swiss Football League rejects requests by FC Sion for the registration of six newly-signed players: Stefan Glarner, Pascal Feindouno, José Gonçalves, Gabriel Garcia De La Torre (a.k.a. “Gabri”), Billy Ketkeophomphone, and Mario Mutsch (see Summer 2011). This is due to a transfer ban imposed on Sion for a rule breach by FIFA (see April 16, 2009). [Swiss Football League, 7/15/2011]

Entity Tags: FC Sion, Swiss Football League

Timeline Tags: Football Business and Politics

The appeal tribunal of the Swiss Football League rejects an appeal by FC Sion and six of its players against a decision of the league’s qualification committee, which refused to register the six (see July 15, 2011). The appeal tribunal finds that the qualification committee correctly decided to reject the applications to register the players because Sion was under a transfer ban. [Swiss Football League, 7/29/2011] Sion will apply for a court order allowing the six to play, and will initially be successful (see August 3, 2011).

Entity Tags: FC Sion, Swiss Football League

Timeline Tags: Football Business and Politics

The Civil Court of Martigny and St. Maurice orders FIFA, the FIFA subsidiary Transfer Matching System GmbH, and the Swiss Football League to allow six FC Sion players to play with immediate effect. The players were signed during a transfer ban (see Summer 2011), so FIFA claims they cannot be fielded, and the Swiss Football League had ruled to this effect (see July 15, 2011 and July 29, 2011). However, the league’s rulings are now overturned. [FIFA, 11/18/2011] Two days later, the Swiss Football League issues a statement saying that the players can be used until a further court ruling. [Swiss Football League, 8/5/2011] The same judge will later affirm his ruling (see September 27, 2011), but it will be overturned by a higher court (see November 16, 2011).

Entity Tags: Swiss Football League, FC Sion, Transfer Matching System GmbH, Civil Court of Martigny and St. Maurice, International Federation of Association Football

Timeline Tags: Football Business and Politics

The Swiss club FC Sion defeats the Scottish team Celtic to win a place in the group stages of the Europa League. The first game of the two-legged playoff tie finished 0-0 in Glasgow, but the Swiss win the return leg 3-1. [Press Association (London), 8/26/2011] UEFA will overturn the result as Sion fielded a number of ineligible players (see September 2, 2011), leading to a drawn-out legal dispute.

Entity Tags: Celtic F.C., FC Sion

Timeline Tags: Football Business and Politics

Two UEFA officials, president Michel Platini and general secretary Gianni Infantino, say that the Swiss club FC Sion clearly breached a transfer ban imposed on it and that the club should not resort to civil courts. Sion used players signed while it was operating under the ban (see April 16, 2009) to win a Europa League playoff (see August 25, 2011). However, their opponents Celtic have now appealed to UEFA to overturn the result. Platini says that the players were fielded “in clear violation of the ban,” adding, “FC Sion has not respected the rules of the transfer ban—they signed players and then played those players.” Infantino says the case will be dealt with in house. “The civil court ruling does not affect UEFA,” he says. “We will look at our rules and the FIFA rules. There is a ruling by FIFA, [the Court of Arbitration for Sport] have ruled, it went to the Swiss supreme court, and everything was confirmed but it has been challenged again.” Infantino also sets out the key point of the dispute, saying, “It is an interpretation question which is complicated—whether a two transfer-window ban means two transfer windows or parts of several transfer windows.” [Press Association (London), 8/26/2011]

Entity Tags: FC Sion, Gianni Infantino, Michel Platini, Union of European Football Associations

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

UEFA throws the Swiss Club FC Sion out of the Europa League for fielding ineligble players. The players were ineligible because they were signed during a transfer ban imposed on the club (see Summer 2011) as punishment for rule-breaking (see April 16, 2009). The players played in a two-legged playoff tie with Celtic, and UEFA now awards each leg to the Scottish club 3-0. [UEFA, 9/2/2011] Sion will appeal the ruling, but the decision will stand (see September 13, 2011).

Entity Tags: Celtic F.C., FC Sion, Union of European Football Associations

Timeline Tags: Football Business and Politics

A Swiss court, the Tribunal Cantonal du Valais, rejects an action by the Swiss club FC Sion in the dispute over Sion’s ejection from European competition (see September 2, 2011) and refuses to issue an injunction. According to the court, the dispute between Sion, UEFA, and Celtic, which replaced Sion in the Europa League, does not have close enough links to Valais for it to adjudicate the matter. [Swiss Football League, 9/2011]

Entity Tags: FC Sion, Tribunal Cantonal Valais

Timeline Tags: Football Business and Politics

A Swiss court, the Tribunal Cantonal de Vaud, orders that the club FC Sion be reinstated in the Europa League. UEFA recently threw Sion out of the league in a dispute over player eligibility (see September 2, 2011). UEFA is not represented at the court hearing. [UEFA, 9/13/2011] Later the same day, UEFA’s appeal body confirms Sion’s ejection (see September 13, 2011), and UEFA’s emergency panel decides to ignore the court order (see Afternoon, September 13, 2011).

Entity Tags: FC Sion, Tribunal Cantonal de Vaud, Union of European Football Associations

Timeline Tags: Football Business and Politics

UEFA rejects an appeal from FC Sion over the club’s expulsion from the Europa League (see September 2, 2011). The ruling means that Celtic, which Sion defeated in a playoff, goes forward to the group stage of the competition. Sion can file an appeal against the decision with the Court of Arbitration for Sport. [UEFA, 9/13/2011] Earlier in the day, a Swiss court had ruled that FC Sion should be readmitted to the competition (see Morning, September 13, 2011), although UEFA’s emergency panel soon decides to ignore the court order and keep Sion out of the competition (see Afternoon, September 13, 2011).

Entity Tags: Celtic F.C., Union of European Football Associations, FC Sion

Timeline Tags: Football Business and Politics

UEFA files an application with the Court of Arbitration for Sport for a decision on the FC Sion case. Although Sion was thrown out of the Europa League for fielding ineligible players (see September 2, 2011), it has taken the dispute to civil courts in Switerland (see Morning, September 13, 2011 and September 23, 2011), which UEFA does not approve of. [UEFA, 10/11/2011]

Entity Tags: Court of Arbitration for Sport, Union of European Football Associations, FC Sion

Timeline Tags: Football Business and Politics

A judge with the Swiss civil court of Martigny and St. Maurice reaffirms a ruling he issued the previous month in the dispute between FC Sion and the football authorities (see August 3, 2011). The decision ordered that Sion be allowed to field six players whose eligibility was disputed. [FIFA, 11/18/2011] However, a higher court will later overturn the ruling (see December 23, 2011).

Entity Tags: FC Sion

Timeline Tags: Football Business and Politics

Marco Villiger, FIFA’s director of legal affairs, gives an interview to the organization’s website on the dispute between FIFA and UEFA on the one hand and the Swiss club FC Sion on the other. Villiger says that by involving civil courts in the dispute, Sion is “irresponsible” and has done an “enormous amount of damage” to “the autonomy of the sport” and also to Swiss football. He adds that the civil actions have caused “chaos” and comments: “If every club went to a local court when they disagreed with something, international football would no longer be possible. Arguments over the games which involved ineligible players will continue long after this case is closed.” He also discusses FIFA’s communication policy on the case, saying, “Normally FIFA does not comment on ongoing cases, but we are being a little more open about this one because the other side have been so aggressive in the media.” Villiger also hints that FIFA is displeased with the Swiss FA’s handling of the matter, saying that member associations are responsible for enforcing FIFA’s decisions: “If an association chooses not to enforce it, it’s up to us to sanction them. Possible sanctions include suspensions, expulsion from competitions, and so forth. If we can no longer enforce decrees, the whole system is in danger.” [FIFA, 9/30/2011] FIFA will later make such a threat against the Swiss FA explicit (see December 17, 2011).

Entity Tags: International Federation of Association Football, Marco Villiger

Timeline Tags: Football Business and Politics

The Court of Arbitration for Sport decides some procedural issues in the dispute between UEFA and the Swiss club FC Sion over the club’s expulsion from the Europa League (see September 2, 2011 and September 26, 2011). The court confirms its competence to decide the merits of the case, dismisses a request by FC Sion for a stay of proceedings, and confirms the nomination of the arbitrator originally chosen by FC Sion. In addition, the court’s statement sent to the parties twice states that FC Sion is committing “clear abuse of [court] procedures” through its attempts at legal maneuvering. [UEFA, 10/15/2011]

Entity Tags: Court of Arbitration for Sport, Union of European Football Associations, FC Sion

Timeline Tags: Football Business and Politics

The Swiss judicial body Tribunal Cantonal de Vaud rejects an application by the Swiss club FC Sion that it order UEFA to immediately reinstate the club in the 2011-2012 Europa League. In particular, the court rejects the request that UEFA be ordered to enable Sion to play the French team Stade Rennais in the next round of fixtures instead of Celtic. Sion defeated Celtic in a playoff, but were then thrown out of the competition for fielding ineligible players and the Scottish team invited back in (see September 2, 2011). [UEFA, 10/18/2011]

Entity Tags: FC Sion, Union of European Football Associations, Tribunal Cantonal de Vaud

Timeline Tags: Football Business and Politics

A Swiss prosecutor interviews UEFA president Michel Platini and general secretary Gianni Infantino over the FC Sion case. UEFA threw Sion out of the Europa League for breaching a transfer ban (see September 2, 2011), but this led to a legal dispute and Sion filed a criminal complaint against UEFA, which is the reason for the interview (see September 23, 2011). [UEFA, 10/19/2011; Agence France-Presse, 10/19/2011] Details of what is said in the interview are unknown.

Entity Tags: Michel Platini, Gianni Infantino, Union of European Football Associations

Timeline Tags: Football Business and Politics

The Court of Arbitration for Sport sets the date of the hearing in the Europa League dispute between UEFA and the Swiss Club FC Sion for November 24. UEFA ejected Sion from the Europa League for fielding ineligible players (see September 2, 2011) and since then there has been a series of legal disputes between the parties (see September 26, 2011 and October 14, 2011). The date is conditional on it being approved by the two parties. [UEFA, 10/25/2011] The court will rule in December, mostly in favour of UEFA (see December 15, 2011).

Entity Tags: Court of Arbitration for Sport, FC Sion, Union of European Football Associations

Timeline Tags: Football Business and Politics

Six players from the Swiss club FC Sion appeal bans imposed on them by the disciplinary committee of the Swiss Football League. The five-match bans were imposed on the six, Pascal Feindouno, Gabriel Garcia De La Torre (a.k.a. “Gabri”), Stefan Glarner, José Gonçalves, Billy Ketkeophomphone, and Mario Mutsch, in a dispute over whether they were signed while Sion was under a transfer ban (see Summer 2011). The players and the club now appeal this decision to the league’s appeal tribunal. [Swiss Football League, 10/2011]

Entity Tags: FC Sion, Swiss Football League

Timeline Tags: Football Business and Politics

The Swiss club FC Sion complains to that country’s Competition Competition about the behavior of UEFA. Sion and UEFA are involved in a legal dispute over the club’s expulsion from the Europa League for fielding ineligible players (see September 2, 2011) and Sion now argues that UEFA is abusing a dominant position. [UEFA, 2/7/2011] The commission will take no action against UEFA (see February 7, 2012).

Entity Tags: Competition Commission (Switzerland), FC Sion, Union of European Football Associations

Timeline Tags: Football Business and Politics

The Swiss club FC Sion and several of its players complain to the European Commission over its treatment by UEFA and FIFA. Sion was punished by the authorities for poaching another team’s player (see April 16, 2009), but has allegedly ignored punishment for this infringement (see September 2, 2011). Sion’s announcement of the complaint states its belief that that UEFA’s expulsion of the club from the Europa League is in conflict with European Union law. [Swissinfo, 10/31/2011]

Entity Tags: European Commission, FC Sion

Timeline Tags: Football Business and Politics

A Swiss appelate court, the Tribunal Cantonal Valais, overturns lower court rulings favorable to the football club FC Sion in a dispute with FIFA and UEFA. A lower court had twice ruled (see August 3, 2011 and September 27, 2011) that players FIFA declared ineligible because of a transfer ban on the club (see Summer 2011) could actually play. FIFA welcomes the ruling, stating, “The Cantonal Court has thus indirectly taken the same view as FIFA and the [Swiss Football League] and its ruling has indirectly confirmed the legality of the transfer ban FIFA imposed on [FC Sion].” [FIFA, 11/18/2011]

Entity Tags: International Federation of Association Football, FC Sion, Swiss Football League, Tribunal Cantonal Valais, Swiss Football Association

Timeline Tags: Football Business and Politics

The key hearing in the dispute between UEFA and the Swiss club FC Sion over the latter’s ejection from the Europa League is held before the Court of Arbitration for Sport. The hearing follows a long dispute between UEFA and the club (see September 2, 2011). [UEFA, 12/15/2011] The court will mostly rule in favor of UEFA (see December 15, 2011).

Entity Tags: Court of Arbitration for Sport, FC Sion, Union of European Football Associations

Timeline Tags: Football Business and Politics

The Swiss Football League rejects appeals against the results of matches in which players signed by FC Sion during the summer transfer window played. The club was apparently operating under a transfer ban when it signed the players (see Summer 2011). The league’s disciplinary committee rejects appeals by Sion against the results of two games with BSC Young Boys on July 23 and December 4. Sion played these games without its six disputed signings. The protest is rejected because at the time of the first game none of the players was validly registered, and they were not allowed to play in the second game following a Swiss court decision adverse to Sion (see November 16, 2011). Protests by other Swiss clubs against the results of matches in which the six disputed players were involved are also rejected. A protest by Grasshopper Club of Zurich is dismsised for formal reasons. Protests by FC Lausanne-Sports, FC Thun, FC Basel, and FC Lucerne are dismissed because at the time of the games between FC Sion and these clubs the Swiss league was allowing the six to play because of orders from Swiss courts (see August 3, 2011 and September 27, 2011). These decisions can be appealed to the Court of Arbitration for Sport. [Swiss Football League, 12/12/2011] The committee will issue a similar ruling concerning another FC Sion match soon after (see December 23, 2011).

Entity Tags: FC Sion, Swiss Football League

Timeline Tags: Football Business and Politics

The Court of Arbitration for Sport issues a ruling in the dispute between UEFA and the Swiss club FC Sion that is largely favorable to the Europan governing body. The court finds that UEFA is not under a duty to reintegrate Sion into the 2011-2012 Europa League, a competition from which it had been banned for fielding ineligible players (see September 2, 2011). However, the court does not rule in favor of UEFA on some other matters. For example, it refuses to declare that UEFA regulations and disciplinary measures are not in conflict with Swiss law. Sion is ordered to pay two thirds of the costs of proceedings—with UEFA making up the other one third—and also to make a contribution to UEFA’s legal costs. [CAS 2011/O/2574 UEFA v. Olympique des Alpes SA/FC Sion: Arbitral Award, 12/15/2011 pdf file]

Entity Tags: Court of Arbitration for Sport, Union of European Football Associations, FC Sion

Timeline Tags: Football Business and Politics

FIFA threatens to suspend the Swiss FA in a long-running dispute over the transfer of an Egyptian goalkeeper to FC Sion in 2008 (see April 16, 2009). FIFA sets a deadline of January 13, by which time the Swiss FA must comply with its instructions. Otherwise, the Swiss national team will be unable to play matches and FC Basel will be unable to continue in the Champions League. FIFA demands that Sion be penalised by forfeting each game in which it fielded an ineligible player, in particular the six it signed in the summer when FIFA says the club was under a transfer ban due to improprieties during the goalkeeper’s transfer. “The executive committee decided to give a final deadline of January 13 to the Swiss FA to enforce the registration ban imposed on Sion… and to sanction the attitude of the club repeatedly trying to circumvent this decision in a legally abusive manner,” says a FIFA statement. However, Swiss FA spokesman Peter Gilleron tells a news conference FIFA’s demand is “impractical,” although he believes a points deduction is possible. [Reuters, 12/17/2011] In response, Sion files a criminal complaint against FIFA’s executive committee (see December 29, 2011).

Entity Tags: FC Sion, International Federation of Association Football, Swiss Football Association

Timeline Tags: Football Business and Politics

The disciplinary committee of the Swiss Football League rejects another appeal by FC Sion over the result of a recently played game. Sion was unable to field six banned players in the game with FC Zurich on December 10 because of a long-running dispute. The committee, which rejected a similar appeal by Sion a few days previously (see December 12, 2011), says the player bans are appropriate because of a Swiss court ruling (see November 16, 2011). Sion may appeal the decision to the Court of Arbitration for Sport. [Swiss Football League, 12/23/2011]

Entity Tags: FC Sion, Swiss Football League

Timeline Tags: Football Business and Politics

The Swiss club FC Sion files a criminal complaint against FIFA’s executive committee in the long-running dispute over a player’s transfer (see April 16, 2009). FIFA had previously threatened to suspend Switzerland from international competition if the Swiss Football Association did not sanction Sion in accordance with FIFA’s instructions, and such suspension would mean that the Swiss national team could no longer play matches and that FC Basel could not continue in the Champions League (see December 17, 2011). Sion says on its website that the threat amounts to unacceptable blackmail and a breach of a basic legal rule. [Associated Press, 12/29/2011]

Entity Tags: FC Sion, International Federation of Association Football

Timeline Tags: Football Business and Politics

The Swiss FA deducts 36 points from FC Sion because the club fielded what it deems to be ineligible players in 12 matches. The move comes as a part of a long-running dispute between the club and various football authorities (see April 16, 2009), following a threat from FIFA that if the Swiss FA did not do so, all Swiss teams would be suspended from international competition (see December 17, 2011). The players are ineligible as they were signed during a transfer embargo imposed after Sion signed an Egyptian goalkeeper despite him being under contract to another club. Three points are deducted for each domestic league or cup game in which one of six ineligible players was fielded. The deduction leaves Sion bottom of the Swiss first division with a points total of minus five. According to the Swiss FA, Sion may appeal the decision to the Court of Arbitration for Sport. [BBC, 12/30/2011]

Entity Tags: Swiss Football Association, FC Sion

Timeline Tags: Football Business and Politics

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