Fox News’ Role in FIFA Corruption Trial
Foreign Policy Brief #167 | By: Reilly Fitzgerald | January 23, 2023
Header photo taken from: Kamil Krzaczynski / Associated Press
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Photo taken from: Reuters / John Taggart
The Fédération Internationale de Football Association, more famously known as FIFA, is the global face of football (or soccer, for Americans). They make the rules of the sport, they can sanction players and teams for misconduct on the pitch; they decide the when and where of major tournaments; the TV rights for tournaments, and also where to take bribes from. Corruption and global sports have always been entwined; just as sports and politics have been.
In regards to the most recent world cups in Qatar (2022), Russia (2018), and Brazil (2014), there has been a consistent documented pattern of corruption in which individual executives and corporations have been banned, imprisoned, sanctioned.
In the ongoing corruption investigation against FIFA by the US Department of Justice, it has come to light that the Fox Corporation is involved in the corruption schemes by giving away hundreds of millions of dollars in bribes to receive exclusive TV rights to major global soccer tournaments, including the FIFA World Cup.
Corruption in regards to FIFA has been an ongoing issue and legal battle for FIFA. The image of FIFA has been noticeably tarnished throughout the past decade, if not more than that. The organization made headlines for awarding the World Cup to human rights abusers such as Qatar, Russia, and Brazil – each one with documented human rights abuses. It also should not come as a huge surprise to most that there is an air of corruption around this organization, and the decisions it has made throughout the past decade.
It may surprise people, especially to American television viewers, to see the Fox Corporation involved in corruption with FIFA. Since 1994, ESPN had been, solely, given the TV rights to air the World Cup in the United States. However in 2011, it was announced by Fox that it was granted the TV rights to upcoming World Cups, such as in Russia 2018, Qatar 2022, and the future World Cup in North America in 2026.
The information being used at trial has been provided by Alejandro Burazco, who is a former banker, according to Sports Illustrated and the New York Times. He has provided information on the people involved at Fox and details regarding the financial aspects of the corruption.
Burazco’s ‘job’ was to act as an intermediary between Fox and FIFA to help win the TV rights to two major South American tournaments: the Copa Libertadores, and the Copa Sudamericana.
Photo taken from: Elizabeth Williams / The Associated Press
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According to reporting from the New York Times based on Burazco’s statements, ESPN and other networks thought that the bidding process was blind; meaning that FIFA should not have been aware of which companies were bidding at any given time, or based on any amount of money.
The issues surrounding FIFA and the corruption that seems to follow them at every turn, and that has also tarnished the world’s beautiful game will continue into the next World Cup. Hopefully, the Justice Department and the trial against FIFA will result in a cleaner environment for this sport to flourish without scandal and controversy.
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Timeline of FIFA Corruption From ESPN (https://www.espn.com/soccer/fifa-world-cup/story/2468845/a-timeline-of-fifa-corruption-allegations)