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From: The Socialist issue 834, 19 November 2014: Workers unite to defend the NHS

Search site for keywords: Football - Big business - Qatar

The beautiful game looking ugly

Paul Callanan

Yet again the world of football finds itself mired in a corruption scandal. This time it is over the Fifa (Fédération Internationale de Football Association) decision to allow Qatar to host the 2022 World Cup.

Qatari football officials had been accused of making payments totalling £3 million to secure backing for its bid from other football federations and big wigs.

A report by Hans-Joachim Ekhart has sensationally cleared the Qatari footballing authority despite thousands of pages of evidence showing dodgy dealings going on behind the scenes.

Football fans can have no trust in an inquiry into alleged corruption in the higher echelons of Fifa carried out by none other than Fifa themselves. Indeed, Michael Garcia, the US lawyer who spent two years investigating claims of wrongdoing, has disowned Fifa's 'unique' interpretation of his findings!

Counter-allegations by Fifa have been made against the Football Association governing body in England, the most fervent accuser of the Qatari FA over their own failed 2022 World Cup bid.

Fifa says the England 2022 bid team improperly attempted to curry favour with former Fifa vice-president and Concacaf's (football's governing body in central America) Jack Warner by, among other things, sponsoring a lavish gala dinner for the Caribbean Football Union costing £35,000.

It seems that no one's hands are clean. The report and the accusations and counter accusations that have followed in its wake will only further add to the sense among fans that 'the beautiful game' is simply a multi-billion pound rat race.

The latest outrage comes on the back of the 'Price of Football' study by the BBC last month that the cost of tickets for Premier League matches is rising at double the rate of the cost of living.

Football officialdom and big business are reaping huge rewards, clubs are going bankrupt, while fans suffer sky high prices and most workers at clubs are now paid below the living wage.

It's time for us to reclaim the game and kick out big business. We need a massive fans-led campaign to bring football under the control of supporters and local communities. Only on the basis of democratic public ownership can we truly save the 'people's game' from the corruption and scandal it now finds itself in.

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