More athletic corruption, big to small

The NYT has the big story, here:

FIFA Officials Arrested on Corruption Charges; Face Extradition to U.S.

An investigation yielded charges against at least 10 current and former officials. The charges include wire fraud, racketeering and money laundering that involved bids for World Cups as well as marketing and broadcast deals, according to law enforcement officials.

… Critics of FIFA point to the lack of transparency regarding executive salaries and resource allocations for an organization that, by its own admission, had revenue of $5.7 billion from 2011 to 2014. Policy decisions are also often taken without debate or explanation, and a small group of officials — known as the executive committee — operates with outsize power.

… No recent incident better encapsulated FIFA’s unusual power dynamic than the bidding for the 2018 and 2022 World Cup tournaments, which many observers found to be flawed from the start: the decision to award two tournaments at once, critics said, would invite vote-trading and other inducements.

Speaking of unusual tournament bids, the BBC had the news on how the IAAF awarded UO the 2021 World Track and field championships here:

The 2021 World Athletics Championships will be held in Eugene, Oregon, after the sport’s governing body bypassed the normal bidding process. The International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) said it was “a unique strategic opportunity” to hold the event in the United States for the first time. IAAF chief Lamine Diack said the decision was taken “in the interest of the global development of our sport”.

And Reuters has more:

(Reuters) – European Athletics president Svein Arne Hansen is “surprised by the complete lack of process” in the IAAF’s decision to bypass the usual bidding process and award the 2021 World Championships to the United States.

The Diane Dietz story in the RG on UO’s original bid for 2019, and how UO kept it secret, is here, and here’s the video of Kate Brown and John Kitzhaber promising the IAAF $30M in state taxpayer money:

To put this in perspective, in a good year UO gets $50M in state support for academics.

And here’s the petty corruption, reported by the AP in March:

IAAF won’t confirm ethics investigation

The IAAF’s ethics commission won’t say whether it is investigating allegations that a member of the world athletics body’s top decision-making council and a candidate for vice president tried to bribe voters with Rolex watches.

Tristan Jones, secretary of the ethics commission, told The Associated Press in an email on Tuesday that he was bound by confidentiality rules and could not say if a complaint was made against United Arab Emirates federation president Ahmad Al Kamali.

“I am unable to confirm or deny whether any complaint has been made,” Jones wrote.

Spanish newspaper El Pais reported Tuesday that Al Kamali was under investigation over allegations that he offered Rolex watches to 40 officials at the recent African Athletics Association congress in Ethiopia.

When reached by phone by the AP, Al Kamali said: “I don’t want to talk anything about this, thank you,” before hanging up.

Al Kamali is a candidate for IAAF vice president in elections in Beijing in August, when the IAAF will also elect a new president. Sebastian Coe and Sergei Bubka are the two candidates to succeed Lamine Diack as president.

Diack, of course, has his own history of corruption, here, and just to complete the circle, it also involves FIFA:

The president of international athletics, Lamine Diack, and the head of African football, Issa Hayatou, have been disciplined by the International Olympic Committee over their parts in an alleged bribery scandal.

Diack, the president of the International Association of Athletics Federations, was given a warning and Hayatou, a Fifa executive committee member and president of the Confederation of African Football, was issued with a reprimand.

But wait, there’s more on another Diack investigation, in the NYT, about improprieties in world championship hosting bids, specifically the one UO lost to Qatar:

Vizer, whose SportAccord organization represents Olympic and non-Olympics federations, suggested IAAF President Lamine Diack’s family had improperly benefited from his role in sport.

“I dedicate and I sacrifice my family for sport, I mean sacrifice in the way of dedication,” Vizer said at a news conference in Sochi. “And in my eyes, (Diack is) a person who sacrifices sport for his family.”

Vizer’s comment was an apparent reference to Diack’s son, Papa Massata Diack.

The younger Diack left his role as an IAAF marketing consultant in December pending an investigation into ethics allegations. They include allegations that he requested a payment from Qatar when it was bidding to host the world championships and that he was linked to a payment reportedly made by a Russian athlete to avoid a doping ban.

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