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Last Updated: Friday, 26 October 2007, 11:04 GMT 12:04 UK
Transcript: Fifa and Coe

Fifa and Coe
DATE: 22:10:07

JEREMY VINE: Hello I'm Jeremy Vine and this is Panorama. Tonight, the real winners in world football, and the losers.


SHAKA HISLOP: Less than £500 a man.

VINE: How one of the men who'll decide if England get to bid for the World Cup next week was branded a liar, and one question, does FIFA's supposedly independent referee have the balls to clean up world football?

English football fell off a bit of a cliff last week, but let's look on the bright side shall we. There is a world cup to bid for and if England win the right to host it, then the team will automatically have a place in the finals. Doubtless they'll line up alongside Scotland. But it's a murky business and no one knows that better than Andrew Jennings.

ANDREW JENNINGS: England beating Russia at the new home of English football, that was before the wheels fell off. Wembley looked a bit different last time England hosted the World Cup and Bobby Moore led 11 working class lads to victory. Bringing the tournament back here might be our only chance of winning it. So what's England's chances of success? Will we have to resort to the kind of tactics that our Bobby would never have approved of?

It is here that the world's greatest game took its first positive steps.

JENNINGS: We played the heritage card last time we bid, but videos don't win world cups.

ALAN TOMLINSON, Professor of Sport
At the heart of FIFA's big decisions are lots of interests of individuals and groups from different parts of the world, and it's not always the "good of the game " to quote FIFA's own slogan that is influencing the eventual decision.

JENNINGS: These are the stars of the game. But these are the men with the power. That decision rests with them. Some have been accused of pocketing bribes, their boss of bosses won power in a dodgy election, and tonight we'll hear how another was branded a liar by a judge, and this is their fortress. The World Cup currently rotates between continents, it's not Europe's turn next. The men who sit here look likely to open bidding for the 2018 World Cup Tour and eventually decide if England gets it. I've been asking questions about corruption at FIFA for years, and I'm not the only one. Two years ago the police raided its offices as part of a corruption investigation.

Zurich Airport, May 2006

JENNINGS: Good morning President Blatter. Why did FIFA repay the ISL bribes? Did you ever take bribes from ISL?

JENNINGS: Football's rulers have a credibility problem. But who cares? After all, FIFA have been putting on the greatest sports show on earth for years without fail ? the World Cup. So does it really matter what some of them get up to? To some people it does. Earlier this year a new man was named to represent the four home nations at FIFA. For years he's worked quietly for the good of the game, fighting Glasgow's sectarianism and rescuing this grand old stadium. His name is John McBeth. He broke a football taboo and spoke frankly about FIFA to journalists, just before taking up his appointment.

JOHN McBETH, President, Scottish FA 2003-07, He asked me about the cup for FIFA and they asked ethically could I possibly be taking up a job with FIFA with when there was so much corruption in the place. I said to him well I understand the allegations against FIFA but I wanted to ask the question was that so, or was it purely a story.

JENNINGS: You also said if you shook hands with some members of the FIFA Executive Committee you count your fingers afterwards. What did you mean by that?

McBETH: There were one or two people on that Executive Committee that I wouldn't trust as far as I could throw them.

JENNINGS: Another comment by McBeth made the headlines. He said that while by and large the four British countries know what fair play is, as soon as you hit Africa it's a slightly different kettle of fish. They're poor nations and they want to grab what they can. I presume the Caribbean is much the same.

McBETH: I was talking about the football people that I've met and dealt with in Africa and I the Caribbean and these places. It was football people I was talking about. I wasn't talking about the nation.

JENNINGS: Not all the men who run football are tainted by allegations ? but many are. Last year Panorama was told that former FIFA President Joao Havelange had taken at least one big bribe ? no not from Tony, from a Swiss sports marketing company. Executive committee member Nicolas Leoz from Paraguay has been forced to deny taking bribes from the same firm ? ISL. Next year the trial of some of its executives we'll hear more about kickbacks to FIFA, up to £20 million in the 1990s. I've been told that the liquidator of ISL has found evidence that could leave ex-President Havelange and Ricardo Texeira, a committee member from Brazil, with some difficult questions to answer. In Brazil a parliamentary inquiry said that Texeira's football association was a den of crime. Signor Texeira denies all allegations. Vote rigging helped Sep Blatter become FIFA President in 1998. The man casting the vote for Haiti was someone else, an aide to Vice President Jack Warner. He could lose his chance to host the cup if FIFA decides to open the bidding to all.

BBC World Service, August 2007

Nobody in Europe likes England. England, who invented the sport, has never had any impact on world football. For Europe, England is an irritant and it's no fault of theirs, it's just natural.

JENNINGS: So what will England's bid team have to contend with as they plot to bring football home?

ALAN TOMLINSON: I think wonderful new stadiums is not enough. Having great sporting infrastructure isn't the main thing in this sort of process.

JENNINGS: What is?

TOMLINSON: What is, is an awareness of the real politics if you like of the FIFA world, and of the interest that really drive a lot of the voters and the key decision makers at the heart of that world.

JENNINGS: It means trying to do deals with the voting blocks and individual voters. And sometimes getting out the check book and delivering what the voters ask for. Jack Warner, Soccer boss of the Caribbean and Central and North America controls three votes, just as he did for the 2006 vote.

Did Jack Warner do well out of the English bid?

TOMLINSON: Jack Warner did very well, he's a very, very experienced operator in this world and what he got out of the English bid was forms of football development support and money and expertise and so on, and some business were the centre of excellence that he's located in Trinidad. But this is something that was paid for essentially by FIFA, moneys that Jack Warner himself controls with his own family and runs it like a personal business.

JENNINGS: It worked. In the first round we got his vote, and you get demands to play unwanted friendlies against the national teams of some voters. Saudi Arabia's vote demanded a game at Wembley. We had to say yes. We had to pull Manchester United out of the FA Cup and send them off to play in a FIFA competition in Brazil. Malta's FIFA voter, Dr Joseph Mifsud also wanted a match with England ? he got one. Thailand's voter wanted an English football coach ? the FA helped pay for him. All this was above board. Some of football's money was spread around the world. A few delegates got a bit fatter. But that didn't cut any ice with FIFA. They produced a report saying our stadiums were no better than South Africa's.

TONY BANKS MP, Commons Select Committee, We were spitting blood to put it... I mean the language was pretty ripe, certainly was coming from me. It was... I just considered it to be a total stitch up, an absolute stitch up.

JENNINGS: In the World Cup bidding game England sometimes looks like amateurs. The Germans played all out to win. Our old rivals did big arms and business deals in Saudi Arabia, Thailand and South Korea.

TOMLINSON: The Germans operated very, very effectively on the world stage, offering business and investment deals in particular countries where voters lived. The England bidding team was never operating in that sort of sphere.

JENNINGS: England lost the political game but was there more? The Germans went after more floating voters. Six weeks before the vote they set up some curios deals with a sports marketing company. Lucrative TV deals for matches that were unusual in more ways than one. A friendly was arranged between Germany's top club buyer, Malta, home of one of FIFA's crucial voters. The deal was made by the German owned sports marketing company CWL. And here's the secret contract. CDL had been paying money to the Maltese Association for years under existing contracts. But this one off contract left the account number and sort code blank, but specifically named President Jo Mifsud. The payment was scribbled in, a quarter of a million dollars. The money was to be paid into a trust account in June. But our sources say that Dr Mifsud didn't tell anybody in Malta about his coup for another four months. Then, during a row about his dealings with CWL he produced a contract and the money then appeared in the Maltese FA's accounts.

Contracts were offered to two other voters. Had their votes been bought? Dr Mifsud told Panorama it was none of our business and that most of our facts were wrong. Others involved denied wrong-doing.

ZEP BLATTER: And the winner is Deutschland.

JENNINGS: England went out in the first round, then the vote turned into a shambles. The New Zealand voter suddenly walked out before the final round. That allowed Germany to beat South Africa by one vote. Corruption at FIFA is a taboo topic. When reports of what John McBeth had said hit the news stands, FIFA Vice President Jack Warner erupted. He accused McBeth of sensational phrases, unsubstantiated claims and pure bigotry. McBeth found himself accused of racism.

McBETH: I'm not a racist bigot and I think it probably says more about Jack and him trying to deflect away the criticism that I was making of corruption. So what I was talking about was the difficult.. the different ethical standards that are throughout the world because I do understand in Africa, and we have dealt with African nations, that they are poor, the majority are poor. There are some quite rich but the majority poor, and they need help, and I can understand that, and I wanted to understand the thinking behind that, and I also know that money gets misappropriated.

JENNINGS: Did you have any personal experience in your time as Chairman of the Scottish Football Association of funny goings on involving senior FIFA people?

McBETH: Yes, well it depends how you interpret it. I mean Jack Warner came across to Scotland to play Trinidad and Tobago came to play Scotland at Hibernian's ground, in Easter Road in Edinburgh, and after the game he asked me to make a cheque out to his personal account for the game. I said we don't do that, it should go to the Association. I then found out later that he had approached several of the other staff in my organisation...

JENNINGS: Your Scottish officials.

McBETH: Yeah, to do exactly the same thing. But of course when I got back to Hamden I instructed our accountant to send it to the Trinidad and Tobago Football Association and if they owed him money then they could pay it to him. The best I could put on there was that he was acting as an agent for Trinidad and Tobago and...

JENNINGS: And did you ever act as an agent for Scottish football when you were its Chairman?

McBETH: Never, never, that would never happen.

JENNINGS: No response to us from Mr Warner. His votes have been vital in keeping the boss, Sepp Blatter in power. With John McBeth on FIFA's Executive Committee some of its members might have had a problem.

McBETH: I hoped that I would, if I'd come across corruption, I would have tried to stop it, and if I couldn't stop it, I would have to expose it.

JENNINGS: How do you think that went down in Zurich?

McBETH: Well I don't think they liked it too much.

JENNINGS: Mr Warner, good morning. Welcome to Zurich.

No wonder, Jack Warner has got a track record for breaching FIFA's ethics rules.

JENNINGS: Can we ask you yet again, how much profit did you make selling World Cup tickets this year?

Last year FIFA's ethics committee found him guilty of touting thousands of World Cup tickets to his family travel company in Trinidad. McBeth managed to get hold of a copy of the meeting's deliberations.

McBETH: I came to the conclusion at the end of it that he was as guilty as sin. I then realised that that ethics committee reported to the Executive Committee, and as far as I could see, the Executive Committee turned round and said Mr Warner has been working under a delusion... a misunderstanding for the last 15 years and they gave a slap on the wrist.

JENNINGS: Why would you spit on me?

WARNER: Because you're garbage.

JENNINGS: Last year FIFA abolished the Ethics Committee but found Jack Warner guilty. They set up a new one to enforce a code of ethics.

Thank you so much Mr Warner.

It bans FIFA officials from taking bribes. They must be honest at all times. It says they mustn't abuse their position for personal gain, and avoid any conflict of interest between their work for FIFA and their own personal business. The man in charge? Our own Seb Coe. I went to Trinidad to meet a man who had high hopes of his fellow athlete. Shaka Hislop has played in goal for Reading, New Castle and West Ham. Last year he played for Trinidad and Tobago in the World Cup. They were national heroes, but what happened to the money?

SHAKA HISLOP, Trinidad & Tobago World Cup Squad,Well before the World Cup we negotiated with Jack Warner for a percentage of the commercial revenues generated as a result of our taking part in the World Cup. When we got back we were told that that amassed less than £500 a man.

JENNINGS: How much?!!!

HISLOP: Less than £500 a man.

JENNINGS: Warner said there was only 22 million Trinidad dollars to share out. The players claim the figure is more than 200 million.

HISLOP: We wanted to have somebody independent have a look at the books and tell us whether those figures were right or wrong, which of course Mr Warner and the TTFF flatly refused. So we had to hire a lawyer and initiate court proceedings.

JENNINGS: What did Jack Warner say about you when he heard that you'd hired lawyers to fight your case?

HISLOP: Well we were immediately labelled as a ?mercenary few', he accused us of being greedy, of holding the TTFF to ransom and effectively we were ruled out of any future participation in international football.

JENNINGS: The blacklisted players were prevented from playing in the regions equivalent of the European Championship, CONCACAF's Gold Cup.

What is the effect on your colleagues, your fellow players?

HISLOP: Well certainly footballers have a very short career and of course the Gold Cup is the marked event of the region, and second only to the World Cup for players of this region to showcase their talents to other clubs, to scouts, to managers in an effort to advance their own careers, and the also were robbed, robbed of that right.

To read the statements in response to this investigation visit

JENNINGS: Warner now says he'll lift the ban on them. Could this be a case for the man fronting FIFA's new improved ethics committee? The committee will soon be looking at how it can ensure fair play during the bidding for future world cups. Gordon Brown wants 2018 for his legacy. The FA are convinced they'll get fair play from FIFA if they bid. But does Mr Brown know what he's getting us into?

Anticipation £30.

JENNINGS: Last year in a New York court room a spotlight was shone on how FIFA really play the game. For 16 years MasterCard was a sponsor of the World Cup. If you're a fan you'll remember them: no card and it was the back of the queue for tickets. MasterCard's contract guaranteed them first refusal to sponsor the 2010 and 2014 World Cups. FIFA had to offer them the deal first. But FIFA were secretly playing away. On April 6 last year they went behind MasterCard's back and signed with Visa. MasterCard were outraged. They asked a New York court to overturn the deal. FIFA was accused of serious foul play. the judge said they'd broken their contract with MasterCard deliberately. It got worse. In her written judgement the judge found FIFA officials had lied not just to MasterCard but in court. American Chuck Blazer of FIFA's Executive Committee was one of them.

JUDGE: Mr Blazer's testimony was generally without credibility based on his attitude and demeanour and on his evasive answers on cross-examination.

Reconstruction from written judgement

JENNINGS: The judge said some of his testimony was "fabricated ". In other words, Blazer had committed perjury. He wasn't the only one having difficulties in the witness box. The man who led FIFA's marketing team, Jérôme Valcke admitted lying to MasterCard and to Visa. MasterCard's lawyer spelt it out.


MARTIN HYMAN: [MasterCard Lawyer] Disraeli once said there were three kinds of "lies darned lies and statistics. " We have learned from the FIFA Marketing Group that there are more. We have learned about the six degrees of prevarication, white lies, commercial lies, bluffs, pure lies, straight untruths and perjury. Mr Valcke even lied when testifying about his lies. But in FIFA's world that's perfectly okay.

JENNINGS: So did MasterCard get fair play from FIFA? The judge agreed Jerome Valcke and others had lied and lied again. FIFA had breached its contract with MasterCard. With the court's judgment in my hand I went to Switzerland, home of FIFA, to talk to legal expert Dr Marco Balmelli. He specializes in commercial and criminal law and is a member of the Basel Institute of Governance which campaigns for ethical standards in business.

Dr MARCO BALMELLI, Basel Institute on Governance In terms of football spoken, they foul played during the whole negotiations.

JENNINGS: Red card all the way?

BALMELLIE: Of course.

JENNINGS: That's what the judge gave them, didn't she.

BALMELLI: Of course because she said they have to perform their agreement with MasterCard.

JENNINGS: And it got worse.

Reconstruction from written judgement JUDGE: Mr Valcke and his team's dealings with FIFA's long-standing partner MasterCard, constitutes the opposite of fair play and violates FIFA's own requirement that its negotiators deal honorably with its business partners.

JENNINGS: President Blatter was forced to act. He announced FIFA had parted company with Jerome Valcke.

FIFA launched an appeal, got the case referred back to the courts in New York, but then thought better of it. Rather than face another beating from the judge, Blatter settled the case with MasterCard and paid them 90 million dollars to go away. But that isn't the end of the affair. During the trial an even more serious allegation surfaced.

BALMELLI: They alleged FIFA having falsified documents and deceived the court.

JENNINGS: When MasterCard warned Blatter they'd sue if he signed with Visa, he replied: "Too late, I've already done it. " But he hadn't. Blatter didn't sign with Visa's Chief Executive for another 24 hours on April 6 last year. But when the case went to court FIFA produced a contract dated three days earlier on April 3rd.

BALMELLI: This is the same piece of evidence, one is produced by Visa, this one produced by FIFA and obviously we have a different date with a different handwriting, and then you turn the page then we have different signature from the same Mr Rodriguez.

JENNINGS: So the boss of Visa has got two different signatures.

BALMELLI: The Judge said that even untrained eyes can recognise that's not the same person who signed the document.

JENNINGS: If these documents are falsified, what is the implication?

BALMELLI: Then it's a crime in Switzerland, it's a serious crime with a sentence up to five years.

JENNINGS: Five years in jail?


JENNINGS: If England do bid to host the World Cup, do you think they'll get fair play from FIFA?

BALMELLI: I mean England is, the proverb says, the mother of football. So they should try to reform it first, otherwise they risk waste a lot of money in a bidding procedure.

JENNINGS: Could be a waste of time without FIFA being cleaned up first.

BALMELLI: A waste of time and a waste of money.

JENNINGS: Allegations of criminality, falsifying documents, is this the organisation England has to trust if we bid to stage the World Cup? At least FIFA's disgraced salesman lost his job, until it was time t give him a better one. He's now General Secretary, the second most important man in world football, despite breaching FIFA's ethical codes. His appointment was approved by the Executive Committee, the same power brokers who award the World Cup. But not this one. John McBeth was ditched by his British colleagues. They feared the fuss could lose us our seat. England's Geoff Thompson grabbed it and joined in welcoming Valcke back to the fold.

JOHN McBETH: President, Scottish FA 2003-07, Jack Warner had said I was a racist and a bigot and until this day neither FIFA, the English, Scottish, the Irish or the Welsh have asked me what did I say.

JENNINGS: What hope then for FIFA policing itself and ensuring fair play when countries like England bid for future World Cups. We asked Lord Coe repeatedly for an interview. We promised not to discuss active cases, no dossiers across the table, no trick questions. All we wanted to know was what was he doing to support his claim that he cared passionately about football and the way it's run. Shaka Hislop had similar questions.

SHAKA HISLOP, Trinidad & Tobago World Cup squad, We wrote to FIFA asking them to refer to the Ethics Committee because we felt we'd done nothing wrong.

JENNINGS: Why the Ethics Committee?

HISLOP: Because we felt we certainly had broken no rules and were being heavily punished for it.

JENNINGS: And is your complaint going to the Ethics Committee?

HISLOP: No, they wrote back to us and said that it was an in-house problem and that Mr Warner would have to decide on whether he broke any rules.

JENNINGS: And what about the MasterCard allegations?

Dr MARCO BALMELLI, Basel Institute on Governance It's certainly very serious and it's a prime example for an Ethic Committee to look into.

JENNINGS: They should be taking it up?

BALMELLI: Of course, I hope they already did.

JENNINGS: And if they don't

BALMELLI: Then it's a question... is it only a farce, or is it a real Ethics Committee?

JENNINGS: John McBeth was denied his right to talk to the committee when his UK colleagues dropped him. Three clear cases for football's Mr Clean. But none reached his desk. Can Lord Coe even choose what to investigate. He wouldn't tell us. He refused to grant us an interview. He said he always intended to keep a low profile, and there was a key meeting coming up which he didn't want to pre-empt. Interview requests should be directed ? yes, you've guess it ? to FIFA.

Lord Coe, good morning, BBC Panorama.

COE: Good morning.

JENNINGS: Lord Coe, just a moment, could you reconsider your refusal to grant us an interview?

COE: [Ignoring question, turns and greets officials] Hello, how are you.

JENNINGS: [valiantly pursuing as Coe heads off] Lord Coe, what's the point of an independent ethics committee if you wont talk about FIFA's scandal?

HISLOP: We are the footballers, we are the ones who step over the white line, and FIFA were saying that all of a sudden the administrators had become far more important than the players.

JENNINGS: Do you have any rights?

HISLOP: I certainly believe so, and I certainly feel that Seb Coe, as an ex-athlete would understand that. He would understand the pressures that athletes face. He would understand how helpless we feel when faced with the almighty administrator.

VINE: Andrew Jennings chasing the story. Later this week Richard Cable and the Prime Minister's bid ambassador will be wining and dining Sepp Blatter at a football function in Sheffield. Jennings? Not invited.

On Thursday Alan Johnston talks to me exclusively about kidnap, captivity and release in a Panorama special. Don't miss that.

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