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  • It's December 2nd, 2010, and

  • the International Federation of Association Football, or FIFA,

  • gathered in Switzerland to announce which country would host

  • the 2018 and 2022 World Cups,

  • and they had assembled a powerful audience.

  • Here's former U.S.

  • President Bill Clinton, who was there to back the U.S. bid.

  • And here's Prince William working on behalf of England's bid

  • behind him is the prime minister of the Netherlands and former

  • prime minister of Belgium, who together submitted a joint bid.

  • But even with all this political power in one room,

  • the fate of their countries lay in the hands of these guys.

  • The 22 FIFA officials with the power to pick the host.

  • They were considered gods by the bidding nations.

  • They were the masters of their destiny.

  • But many of these men

  • have been accused of abusing their power.

  • And this was the moment they took it a step too far.

  • 2018 FIFA World Cup,

  • ladies and gentlemen, will be organized in Russia.!

  • The 2022

  • FIFA World Cup is ...

  • Qatar!

  • The decision is still one of the worst decisions

  • made by a sporting organization.

  • It was a catastrophe for FIFA.

  • They've had their whole legacies called into question.

  • The announcement set off a cascade of events

  • that rocked the world of football and nearly broke FIFA.

  • Rampant and deep rooted corruption.

  • Corruption and bribery.

  • Corruption in the international hearing and money laundering.

  • How did FIFA go from organizing

  • one of the most beloved sporting events in the world

  • to corrupting it?

  • In the early 20th century?

  • Football was already super popular, mainly

  • in Europe and South America,

  • where national teams had begun playing each other.

  • So a group of officials in France formed FIFA in 1904

  • to oversee these competitions and promote the sport.

  • In 1930, inspired by the Olympics,

  • they decided to start their own tournament.

  • The first question was who would host it?

  • Out of FIFA's 44 member countries

  • at the time, six place bids to host it.

  • FIFA's Congress, made up of one representative

  • from each country, was put in charge of voting for a winner.

  • But really, this vote was a facade.

  • So, there was no bid contest.

  • It was effectively decided behind closed doors

  • by a bunch of committee men.

  • Eventually, FIFA awarded Uruguay the rights

  • to host the first World Cup,

  • and it was a fitting place to do it.

  • Uruguay had just won the last two Olympic

  • gold medals in football, but it also agreed to pay for a lot,

  • including the travel expenses of other teams

  • and share the profits with FIFA.

  • In July 1930, 13 teams came together to play.

  • Uruguay beat Argentina in the finals.

  • And FIFA made a solid profit, mostly from ticket sales.

  • The World Cup was a success.

  • Over the next couple of decades,

  • FIFA decided to rotate the tournament

  • between Europe and South America.

  • The World Cup wasn't a grandiose thing back then.

  • You know, there were some upgrades to the stadiums

  • and to existing infrastructure

  • and there might be some marketing going on.

  • But the World Cup wasn't a truly global event.

  • That all changed when it went on TV.

  • I am very pleased that this country

  • is acting as host

  • for the final of the World Cup.

  • Once the whole world could watch the tournament,

  • the host nation became much more visible,

  • leading many more countries to want to host.

  • In virtually every country, football has now such a following

  • that no government can afford to ignore it.

  • Through the sixties and seventies,

  • FIFA's membership started exploding.

  • By the eighties, it had close to 170 members,

  • mostly divided into six confederations

  • with their own qualifying tournaments.

  • And the organization kept getting richer.

  • Take a look at how FIFA's profits grew steadily

  • with almost every tournament until, boom, the 1980s.

  • That's when World Cup sponsorships, merchandise

  • and TV rights became worth millions.

  • All of this money was largely controlled by 24 officials.

  • The leaders of each confederation

  • and some senior officials, like the president.

  • This group was called the executive committee or ExCo.

  • They had the power to distribute FIFA's money

  • to its member countries for building football fields,

  • holding tournaments and establishing youth programs.

  • Very often this was done about any checks in place.

  • Lots of money was siphoned off.

  • You know, development a money kickback became

  • almost standard practice in certain parts of the world.

  • FIFA leaders began using corrupt practices

  • to gain and retain power.

  • The corruption that went on suited the two presidents.

  • Havelange was nakedly corrupt and took bribes as well.

  • That’s well documented.

  • Sepp Blatter was very different.

  • He was addicted to power.

  • There was a cabal of nakedly corrupt

  • committeemen within FIFA and Mr.

  • Blatter ignored their excesses

  • because he relied on their support to keep himself in power.

  • It was in this culture of corruption that FIFA in 1964

  • decided to take the vote away from Congress

  • and give it to ExCo, meaning that to host the World Cup,

  • countries only needed to win the votes of a majority of ExCo,

  • just 13 of them.

  • The fact that such a small body of men

  • had such a powerful position vested among them

  • without any real checks and balances.

  • Yeah, it absolutely made corruption part of it.

  • FIFA's corruption wasn't a secret,

  • but they had moved their headquarters to Switzerland long ago

  • and that meant their finances couldn't really be traced

  • to confirm corruption, at least for another decade.

  • The 2006 World Cup

  • bid was the most competitive in FIFA's history.

  • It had previously begun accepting bids

  • from countries outside of Europe and South America.

  • It awarded hosting rights to the U.S.

  • in ‘94 and South Korea and Japan in 2002.

  • For the 2006 World Cup,

  • five countries wanted to host it and for good reason.

  • I think there's a huge amount of prestige

  • that it brings to

  • not just the country, but the leadership of the country.

  • It's sort of a step on the way towards nation building.

  • With more and more countries desperate for World Cup prestige,

  • FIFA found ways to play them off each other.

  • The bidding countries spent millions of dollars on a two year

  • gantlet of PR events to impress FIFA

  • and try to outdo each other by promising new stadiums,

  • hotels, infrastructure and lucrative TV offers.

  • This became the well-known public facing

  • side of the bidding process.

  • That was the start, I think, where the World Cup

  • became really very heavily politicized.

  • When the 2006 vote came to a close, ExCo

  • chose Deutschland.

  • Thanks to one voter abstaining at the last moment.

  • Journalists had later revealed that Germany had bribed

  • at least four ExCo members for their votes,

  • including the official who abstained.

  • It was the first publicly reported incident

  • that revealed FIFA had another layer to its bidding process

  • that involved cutting deals with ExCo members under the table

  • because of a lack of criteria

  • that governed where the World Cup was going to go.

  • The old man who sat on its executive committee

  • were wined and dined and indulged

  • for a significant period of time

  • and in some cases

  • quite handsomely remunerated.

  • And it happened again for the 2010 World

  • Cup bid, which South Africa won.

  • Allegations would later emerge that it too

  • had paid ExCo members for their votes.

  • This shadier side of the bid was becoming vital to winning,

  • and in the next two bids

  • it would destroy the legacy of the World Cup.

  • In the lead up to this announcement,

  • FIFA had decided that the 2018 Cup would be in Europe.

  • Four bidders emerged.

  • England, with its expansive

  • infrastructure, was the