Ho hum, yet more revelations of bribery and corruption in the scandalous world of international soccer.
FIFA and CONCACAF, the regional North American and Caribbean association of which Canada is a member, are in chaos. Countless current and former execs are under arrest and working as confidential informants to the FBI and Swiss police in return for reduced sentences.
Into this nightmare certain names are being bandied about to bring a little sanity to the soccer world, including none other than Canada’s own Victor Montagliani, supremo of the Canadian Soccer Association.
How curious, since the US Department of Justice indictment of FIFA executives revealed that one of the highest-ranking suspects was Jeffery Webb, the CONCACAF president who Montagliani once cited as his “inspiration,” in a BC magazine last year.
In that same interview, Montagliani also claimed that he and the rest of the CSA had talents that exceeded the Canadian national soccer teams.
“Our skill set as Canadians in administration and governance is high, not just in soccer, but any aspect. We need to learn how to transform that into success on the pitch. That’s our next challenge.”
Shurely this cannot be the same Victor Montagliani who last spring invited Webb to give a personal statement on the necessity of truthiness in Canadian Soccer.
Webb bravely declared that “Protecting the integrity of football remains on of CONCACAF’s top priorities….”
We can only imagine Montagliani’s shock, only four weeks later, when the Swiss Police arrested Webb, who’s now living under house arrest and singing like a bird.
The FBI charges against the CONCACAF boss are based on allegations of widespread fraud and scams into just about every aspect of CONCACAF biz, including the multi-million dollar insider deal for CONCACAF TV rights to be sold to Traffic Sports.
The colossal Brazilian marketing firm has its hooks into soccer on various levels, including purchasing and selling media rights.
Traffic’s Canadian connection includes the proposed all-Canadian division of the NASL, which currently has two Canadian teams, Edmonton and Ottawa.
Aaron Davidson, until recently the chairman of the NASL board, just happened to be Traffic Sports’ top exec in the U.S. and he had significant involvement with Canadian soccer. Indeed, the CSA last year had a marketing arrangement with Traffic.
Now Davidson has joined Webb among the accused and he’s been banned from FIFA and the NASL.
The FBI indictment makes for exciting reading.
Secret meetings in Budapest between Traffic and CONCACAF executives, illegal payments being wired through Panamanian, Swiss, American and then Cayman Islands banks using an “overseas company that manufactured soccer uniforms and soccer balls (“Soccer Uniform Company A”), the identity of which is known to the Grand Jury.”
At the same time, another contract was being signed by CONCACAF for the international television rights for the same tournaments. The lucky firm to win this lucrative contract? Traffic Sports!
No word from the FBI if this contract was also corrupted.
No one is saying that all three men who decided on the contract are guilty of fraud or facilitating bribes (only one of them has been arrested), but surely the other two naive chaps must be wondering what kind of a world they got themselves involved in.
And who is one of the threesome who accepted the second Traffic TV deal?
Step forward, Victor Montagliani!
Hopefully, Vic will have better luck with future administration duties in the soccer world.