Sepp Blatter accused of under-selling TV rights to CaribbeanSaturday, September 12, 2015
GENEVA, Switzerland (AFP) — FIFA President Sepp Blatter sold World Cup television rights to the Caribbean for much less than their market value, according to a report by Swiss television station SRF.
Blatter, who is expected to step down as president after new elections in February, allegedly sold the TV rights to Caribbean Football Union (CFU) President Jack Warner for the 2010 World Cup in South Africa for just $250,000 (220,550 euros) and those for the next World Cup in Brazil for $350,000, claimed SRF.
The TV station showed the relevant contracts from 2005 on screen during its '10 vor 10' programme, claiming this was "around five per cent of the market value".
Warner, the former president of the North and Central American federation CONCACAF, has been accused of corruption several times in his career and is currently under investigation by the United States Department of Justice for wire fraud, racketeering and money laundering.
By comparison, the TV rights for Brazil 2014 in France alone were bought in 2005 by TF1 for 130 million euros ($147m). In total, TV rights fetched 2.1 billion euros across the world.
Australian businessman Jaimie Fuller, founder of the "New FIFA Now" movement pushing for greater transparency in world football's governing body, said this was the first time Blatter himself had been implicated directly in a document relating to a corruption case.
FIFA issued a statement saying: "FIFA does not comment on allegations made in the press. Furthermore, as Mr Warner is under indictment in the United States, we are not at liberty to discuss matters concerning him.
"A TV report on Swiss TV (10 vor 10, SRF) on 11 September however has given rise for following clarification:
"On 12 September 2005, FIFA signed a contract with the Caribbean Football Union (CFU) regarding TV broadcasting rights.
"Under the terms of this agreement FIFA was to receive not only a fixed licensing fee but also a 50 per cent share of any profits related to the subcontracting of these rights.
"The CFU made several breaches to the contract and failed to meet its financial obligations."
The statement also claimed FIFA terminated its contract with the CFU in July 2011 due to the failure to meet such obligations.
Warner, who remains president of the CFU, was one of 14 people, amongst them several FIFA officials, to be arrested at the behest of American authorities, accused of taking $150 million in bribes dating back to 1990.
Warner, a former politician and vice-president of FIFA, was arrested in his homeland of Trinidad and Tobago as part of the investigation and is fighting extradition to the US.
He is accused of pocketing part of an alleged $10 million dollar payment made by South Africa to the CFU in exchange for votes ahead of the country's nomination as World Cup hosts for 2010.
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