List Member Galleries
Football and fat fees
After Russia’s wildly successful World Cup, the eyes of the sporting world have turned to the next host, Qatar – and a recent event in London gave an indication of the scrutiny that lies ahead for the controversial organisers, and of the Middle Eastern diplomatic battle that will shadow the tournament.
Journalists who attended the launch of the Foundation For
Sports Integrity at the Four Seasons hotel were ushered through security to watch a series of panels featuring high-profile guests. The former Manchester United footballer Louis Saha appeared in a discussion alongside the former FA chairman Greg Dyke. Other guests included Damian Collins MP and the former US women’s goalkeeper Hope Solo.
But as well as the guest list and the glamorous surroundings, there was another striking feature of the event: questions over the funding of the previously unknown organisation, which was unveiling itself at short notice with a lavish conference and a public commitment to stamping out corruption in world sport.
Several guests received fees in the thousands of pounds and stayed in expensive hotels. Substantial sums appeared to have been spent staging the event and producing , which regularly questioned the decision to award the 2022 World Cup to Qatar.
“We believe that sport belongs to the people and should not be exploited by those in positions of authority, be they individuals, officials, corporations or nation states,” the foundation announced in its mission statement. It pledged to fund “research into sports corruption and related matters” and to support whistleblowers.
That was in May. Today, questions remain over who funded the Sports, Politics and Integrity conference given its own commitment to transparency - and whether it was linked to the proxy war between Qatar and regional rivals, including Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, in an attempt to turn the media against the 2022 hosts.
There is no suggestion that it is illegal to refuse to disclose funding sources.
But even Steve Rabinowitz, a Washington-based publicist who helped book guests and promote the event, highlighted the seeming paradox, telling the Guardian: “It is ironic that they’re all about transparency in sport and yet they’ve not been so transparent in their finances.
“A couple of speakers spoke pro bono but most got paid. If they got flown in, they got flown business class. Fancy hotels. First-rate production. Not a bazillion pounds, but you know, they did it right, they did it nice. It cost money.”
The event was hosted by Jaimie Fuller, an Australian businessman who campaigns for Fifa reform. Fuller has repeatedly declined to identify the main source of funding and there is no detail on the trustees of his organisation.
Despite the lack of transparency, the coverage of the event was substantial. The
Nyheim Hines Jersey
day before the conference it had obtained from the foundation and suggested it could force Fifa to reconsider the Qatar decision. News outlets and social media supporters and the Emirates gave substantial coverage, with the
Authentic Demarcus Walker Jersey
ifa as result. Other coverage appeared on the , and dozens of sites including the Guardian, .
Although the foundation has a remit across all sport, discussion at the conference focused on Doha’s activities. Topics included “an exercise in corruption”, which discussed the selection of Russia and Qatar as World Cup hosts; a panel featuring Geoffrey Robertson QC which discussed whether sport was responsible for safeguarding human rights, with a focus on Qatar; and two discussions on the future of Fifa which regularly referenced
You must be logged in to comment.
Art, Writing, etc.
forgot your password?
Log in with Google