Slavery-enabler Sepp Blatter might actually be facing consequences for how FIFA awarded the 2018 and 2022 World Cup bids to Russia and Qatar. ESPN’s investigative newsmagazine show, E:60, debuted an hour-long documentary on Blatter tonight, and reports that he is so fearful of an FBI investigation into bribery and corruption during the bidding process that he has decided not to step foot on U.S. soil:
Jeremy Schaap believes the last time Blatter was in the U.S. was 2011.
CNN reported last November—after FIFA’s own investigation found no reason to take the World Cup’s away from Russia or Qatar—that the FBI’s three-year-old probe would continue:
A U.S. law enforcement official said the probe is looking at a variety of alleged corruption issues, including the 2018 and 2022 bidding process.
The FBI investigation includes the cooperation of a former top FIFA official who has provided documents and recordings of meetings with colleagues, law enforcement officials said.
Both CNN and E:60 report that an unnamed former FIFA official, likely Chuck Blazer, is assisting the investigation. Blazer was on the FIFA Executive Committee from 1996 to 2013, and was himself the subject of an FBI probe before he flipped, at least according to the New York Daily News.
Last summer E:60 debuted a documentary on the conditions faced by workers building World Cup stadiums in Qatar. Jeremy Schaap and an E:60 team went to Qatar, and the video they took and stories they heard were absolutely brutal. They snuck into a migrant camp where they documented the absolute squalor the workers live in—eight or ten to a room, cooking in overcrowded and filthy kitchens—and heard the stories of workers who cannot leave Qatar because their “employer” possesses their passport.
By choosing Qatar’s $200 billion World Cup bid over many others’s, including the United States’s, FIFA helped worsen an already terrible situation. Migrant workers were already streaming into Qatar to build fantastic monuments to oil wealth and living in near-slavery conditions, but the need to build a dozen stadiums and the infrastructure to support the World Cup has subjected hundreds of thousands more to them. As E:60 reported, Qatar essentially lies to these workers about the job to entice them to leave behind their families and countries in an attempt to better their lives, and then traps them once they get there.
Contact the author at firstname.lastname@example.org. Photo via AP.