The English bid to host the 2018 Football World Cup is in chaos as the team leading the bid stated that their chances had been “severely harmed” by newspaper allegations about bribes offered to two FIFA representatives.
The Sunday Times set up a sting operation in a way only the English media could, the aim was simply to get “evidence” of FIFA representatives accepting back handers for voting for particular bids. The journalists posed as lobbyists for a consortium of private American companies who wanted to secure the World Cup for the United States. The paper then claims two executive committee members of FIFA Amos Adamu from Nigeria and Reynald Temarii from Tahiti both agreed to vote for the US bid in exchange for money to build sporting facilities in the regions of the world they represented.
As is always the case the two deny any wrong doing, whereas the paper sticks by not only its story but also its methods.
After the story initially broke there was a media storm tinged with a sense of xenophobia of foreigners selling out the ethics of sport for a quick buck. It is the usual story with media stings, it was no different with the Pakistani cricket team and the spot fixing allegations a few months ago.
There is always an arrogant sense of “them” not understanding the sanctity of sport, or the value of upholding the heritage of organisations such as FIFA. This is exemplified in the use of sporting terms like “for the love of the game” and “doing the right thing”. It is always about protecting the sport and giving those watching the confidence that there is no funny business going on behind closed doors.
This holier than thou attitude extends a lot further than sport alone, it gives a glimpse into the psyche of the Western world. The West sees itself as the Judge Dredd of the world, self declared judge, jury and executioner, as Judge Dredd said: “I am the law! Put down your weapons and prepare to be judged”
So from teaching the world democracy, women’s rights or just plain old good honest decent values of not pocketing a brown envelope for a vote, the Western world is the place to come. Hey they’d even kill people for this stuff, just ask the people of Iraq and Afghanistan. The problem with taking the moral high ground is whatever you do don’t go falling down.
So if you were leading the 2018 bid what would you do? Would you stick to your age old principles of fair play and risk losing the bid? Or would the fear of losing the bid see you abandon all principles?
Well for the England bid team the answer is simple, forget the principles, and lets get the media spin machine out. So the bid team are considering telling all newspaper editors to write to FIFA supporting the bid. This is a tactic to try and mend any fences that may remain between FIFA and the media.
From this one seemingly harmless incident it is clear that values of honesty and trustworthiness don’t matter one little bit. When it comes to the crunch it is money that talks.
Money short for capitalism is the source of decisionmaking and not morality, ethics or principles despite the self-righteous platitudes.
If stopping the media revealing more stories helps secure the 2018 bid then it will be done. Only the final result matters not how the game was played.
So much for principles!