PtG Article 19.11.2010

Sunday Times deserves top prize for exposing FIFA corruption scandal

On January 10, in Zurich, FIFA holds its annual gala. The major social event of the world federation’s year sees it present a host of awards.

"I have a prize-winner to suggest: FIFA’s fair play prize should go to The Sunday Times. Had it not been for the newspaper’s painstaking, time and money-consuming investigative work then Messrs Adamu, Temarii, Fusimalohi, Aloulou, Bhamjee and Diakite would still be talking corrupt practices in the grandest corridors of world football.But it was depressing to hear Sulser lecture journalists present at the‘mea culpa press conference’ on media ethics. Sulser would not have had a single case come before him, let alone seven (charges of bid vote collusion were dismissed) had it not been for The Sunday Times.In doing what it did the newspaper stood up for fair play in world football, for fair play at the heart of FIFA, for fair play in the World Cup bidding process.That deserves to be recognized. Freedom of the media, freedom of the right to investigate wrongdoing and expose it, is the mark of a society which values truth, transparency, honesty and credibility above all else; above money, commercial convenience, personal fiefdoms.Fair play to The Sunday Times. If FIFA does not have the grace to acknowledge the fact then suspicion will linger that what really upset its movers and shakers was exposure . . . not corrupt practices."

By Keir Radnedge, Chairman AIPS Football Commission.