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Football: how to fix FIFA and World Cup corruption

December 2010: FIFA President Sepp Blatter announces Russia has won the competition to host the 2018 “FIFA World Cup”.  Qatar will host the 2022 competition.

You can watch the announcement, should you so wish, on this 21-minute long presentation.  The actual announcements are at minutes 9.10 and 15.50.

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Berlin Olympic stadium – venue for 2006 World Cup final

27 May 2015: the US department of Justice indicts nine FIFA officials and five others for “racketeering, conspiracy and corruption“.  The US Attorney General says: “The indictment alleges corruption that is rampant, systemic and deep-rooted both abroad and here in the United States”.

21 December 2015: Sepp Blatter is banned for eight years from all football related activity by FIFA’s own ethics committee, along with fellow top football administrator Michel Platini.  Both deny any wrongdoing. (more…)

Can hosting a World Cup boost a country’s image?

In the wake of Germany’s brilliant triumph in the 2014 World Cup, it’s worth casting an eye over my 2006 piece, written on the eve of the World Cup final in Berlin that year.  I wrote then that: “The only reliable way to wow a global sports audience is with – wait for it – outstanding sporting achievement”.

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Who will we remember most in 5 years’ time?  Brazil, for hosting the tournament?  Or Germany for winning it?   Thoughts welcome.

I took the picture, by the way, in Berlin’s Olympic Stadium, built for the 1936 Games and restored for the 2006 World Cup final.

And I should add, as always, that the sub-editors write the headlines – not the journalists!

Nice buildings, shame about the events

No matter how much hosts of global spectaculars try to engineer greatness, it’s sporting brilliance that counts, says Robert Pimm

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Olympic Stadium, Berlin – Photo: Robert Pimm

Financial Times, July 8 2006

The house where Jesse Owens slept still stands, its faded walls fringed with lush, uncut grass. Klaus, our guide, shows us a restored bedroom with a photo of the great athlete. Yet, the parkland outside, once landscaped and stocked with native German flora and fauna, ran wild long ago. The artificial lake is dry. The café that overlooked it has vanished, along with 120 of the 140 accommodation buildings. In their place loom abandoned Soviet-era apartment blocks, empty windows yawning.

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