Global Business of Soccer Recap

 

Here are some of the top stories from around the global soccer industry last week…

 

Blatter Steps DownFIFA President Sepp Blatter Resigns Just Days After Re-Election (Business of Soccer)

Last Friday a fairly large chunk of global soccer fans and industry professionals alike were devastated when incumbent Sepp Blatter was re-elected to a fifth term as President of FIFA, the world’s soccer governing body. Four days later, those same people were elated when he announced his resignation.

Even though most everyone knew that his re-election was all but certain, even after the US Department of Justice opened a 47-count indictment and arrested fourteen individuals, including nine high-ranking FIFA officials, for various corruption charges, those that were not Blatter fans held the smallest shred of hope that by some miracle Prince Ali bin al-Hussein of Jordan would rally enough support to overthrow him.

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DCU Stadium renderingD.C. United Could Spurn Buzzard Point For New Stadium Outside City Limits (Business of Soccer)

Between the FIFA arrests last week and Sepp Blatter’s resignation this week, it seemed as if the soccer world (and the non-soccer world) stopped spinning.  However, Major League Soccer’s (MLS) D.C. United had a bit of shocking news of their own.  According to The Washington Post, D.C. United may be looking to build a stadium outside of the city in Northern Virginia.  The club has battled with the city politicians for over two years to finally secure funding and the rights to a stadium at Buzzard Point.  The current stadium plan still faces a few roadblocks, but the stadium could be up and running as early as 2017.

D.C. United is reportedly resistant to paying for cost overruns in building the stadium.  The District is already paying over $150 million directly, not including $43 million in tax revenue, to help build the stadium.  The club anticipates they will also contribute $150 million to building their stadium and leaving its current home, the crumbling RFK Stadium.  The proposed new stadium at Buzzard Point would be the most expensive in MLS to date.

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Blatter Qatar 2022Whistleblower: Qatar Will Be Stripped Of 2022 World Cup (Forbes)

If Phaedra Al-Majid is right, FIFA will have no choice but to take the 2022 World Cup away from Qatar.

Al-Majid knows what she’s talking about. She helped the oil-rich nation win its bid back in 2010 as an international media officer, but then made allegations in 2011 that Qatar paid three FIFA officials for their votes.

Although the American signed an affidavit saying her claims were false later that year, she told the BBC last November that she was coerced into changing her statement.

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CONMEBOLSouth American Soccer HQ Could Face Raids If New Law Passes (Reuters)

Lawmakers across Paraguay’s political divide are urging senators to approve stripping the headquarters of South American football of its legal immunity, a status that spotlights how soccer’s global governing body FIFA has often been able to skirt legally around national laws.

A draft bill to remove the immunity was put to Congress in late May, days after U.S. authorities indicted 14 past and present senior soccer officials and sports media executives on a series of corruption charges, including bribery and money laundering. FIFA President Sepp Blatter announced his resignation last week as the investigation of FIFA and its affiliates continued to widen.

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Chuck-BlazerSoccer’s Decades of Corruption Laid Bare in Blazer Guilty Plea (Bloomberg)

In a locked Brooklyn courtroom in 2013, a New York bon vivant named Charles “Chuck” Blazer pleaded guilty to accepting and arranging bribes and not paying taxes.

He was one of global soccer’s most powerful figures.

The deal marked an ignominious end to a two-decade-long career in the number two post at Concacaf, the soccer confederation that oversees North and Central America, which Blazer helped build into a political and financial force.

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MastercardMastercard Releases Fan Passion Report (FC Business)

MasterCard has released its Fan Passion Report, a study into the passions of over 5,000 European football fans, ahead of the UEFA Champions League final between Juventus and FC Barcelona on Saturday 6th June.

According to the report, fans in Italy (73%) have more superstitions relating to football than other nationalities in Europe, just ahead of Spanish fans. Nearly half (47%) of Italians wear a certain item of lucky clothing during a match, 20% insist on sitting in the same seat every game and 13% eat or drink a specific food item or beverage.

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UEFA LogoReport: PepsiCo Nears UEFA Champions League Deal (Soccerex)

PepsiCo is reportedly set to be announced as a new sponsor of the Uefa Champions League.

According to Sportcal, the US beverage giant is in advanced negotiations to acquire a package of marketing rights covering the three-year cycle from next season to the end of the 2017/18 season.

The report says the deal will be formally announced after this year’s Champions League final between FC Barcelona and Juventus in Berlin on Saturday.

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FIFA MovieFIFA Scores Own Goal As Film Makes Just $607 in USA Release (Goal.com) 

United Passions, a movie which paints Sepp Blatter as a moral crusader but has been branded as “squirm-inducing propaganda,” has bombed at the box office.

FIFA has scored an embarrassing own goal as widely derided vanity film United Passions collected just $607 in its first two days released in the U.S.

The film’s release had coincided with an avalanche of corruption claims and bribery allegations following the indictment of 14 football figures by the FBI ahead of the FIFA presidency election May 28.

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BOS_BlatterEmail Links FIFA President Sepp Blatter to $10 Million Payment (ESPN FC)

A 2007 email shows FIFA President Sepp Blatter and then-South African President Thabo Mbeki held “discussions” over $10 million that ultimately went to allegedly corrupt football executives as payback for supporting the country’s World Cup bid, a newspaper claimed Sunday.

South Africa’s Sunday Times reported that the email from FIFA secretary general Jerome Valcke to the South African government asks when the $10 million will be transferred.

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Vladimir PutinFIFA Scandal Fallout: Russia in Disbelief Over Threat to World Cup 2018 (the guardian)

After Vladimir Putin lashed out at the United States for attempting to “spread its jurisdiction to other states” and prevent Sepp Blatter’s re-election, Russian officials and pundits greeted the news of the Fifa president’s resignation with anger and disappointment. The sports minister, Vitaly Mutko, called Blatter’s exit a “courageous decision with love for Fifa” and called for a new leader who can “defend Fifa from attacks”.

Blatter had always got on well with the notoriously prickly Putin and, most importantly, he had been a firm supporter of the 2018 World Cup in Russia. Now that Blatter has been “forced out” by the Americans, that World Cup “is under threat,” tweeted television and radio host Vladimir Soloviev, summing up the anger around the issue in Russia.

Reporting on the business side of the world's game.