Journalist Andrew Jennings gives an exclusive interview to former iconic Brazilian footballer and now Congressman Romario for his new website:
Here’s a translation into English
Romari: How long have you been investigating corruption in sport?
Andrew Jennings: I have been an investigative reporter for 40 years and 20 years ago I was investigating the Palermo mafia and their operations in Europe, the UK and North America. At one stage while filming in Palermo I found myself nose-nose with a very angry mobster who commanded us to stop filming.
This experience and understanding of how Organised Crime Families operate was perfect training for the next target – the international sports federations. I thought this work would not last too long. Twenty years later I am still unearthing corruption evidence – especially at FIFA! I have no doubt that FIFA is an organised crime family and Blatter’s mechanism is lubricated with development grants and endless allowances of precious World Cup tickets.
Exploiting Brazilian football
Romario: Why are you so interested in Ricardo Teixeira, the CBF and their involvement in the 2014 World Cup?
AJ: Any fan – or reporter – has to be interested in who is hosting the next World Cup and how preparations are going. After the corruption in South Africa when so many unneeded football stadiums were built – and the profits that went to corrupt politicians and contractors – Brazil, which still has poverty to overcome, will be scrutinised by the rest of the world. Globally, there is no trust in the CBF.
There is also little trust in the frequent statements by FIFA general secretary Jérôme Valcke that Brazil is not preparing fast enough. Whether that is true or not, international observers note the warm relationship between Valcke and Teixeira. You have to wonder why? This pressure from FIFA should be resisted.
I am sure that in recent years Blatter promised Teixeira that we would be the next FIFA president. With Both men now deep in scandal, this is less likely.
Romario: Who is Ricardo Teixeira in the context of international soccer?
AJ: Few fans outside Brazil would recognise Teixeira on the street. Those who do know him see a man who became rich and powerful exploiting Brazilian football and FIFA. The international news wires run stories about his dubious involvement in World Cup contracts Teixeira is permanently shamed by the 2001 Alvaro Dias report which was reported internationally.
His nickname ‘Tricky Ricky’ is now spreading around the world.
Romario: How did Brazil win the right to stage 2014?
AJ: Blatter the mafia Godfather has to keep his world-wide Under-Bosses happy. Ricardo wanted his own World Cup so he could loot it. The best way for Blatter to keep him loyal was to let him have 2014. After South Africa had been robbed in 2000 for the 2006 World Cup – bribes were paid on behalf of Germany – the whole of Africa was furious. Blatter hurriedly introduced the idea of rotating the World Cup between continents. South Africa then got 2010 and 2014 was promised to South America. You have to wonder what deals were secretly made between Teixeira and the rest of the Comnebol countries.
The secret file in Zug
Romario: You talk about the secrets in Zug? What is this story?
AJ: This is the FIFA’s big one, bigger than any other scandal. A spectre that has been haunting Blatter, Teixeira and João Havelange for the last decade. For the two previous decades massive bribes were paid by a Swiss sports marketing company in return for being awarded the lucrative contracts for the FIFA World Cup. That company, ISL, went bust in early 2001 and the gangsters at FIFA have been trying desperately ever since to undermine investigations by criminal prosecutors.
Romario: What kind of bribes are we talking about?
AJ: I sat in a Swiss courtroom in March 2008 and heard a judge reveal that ISL had paid around $100 million in bribes to get their contracts. The reporters in court were stunned by the amount. $100 million in bribes! This was going to be the biggest corruption story in the history of FIFA – and maybe world sport.
Continued . . .