Rugby MP enters Fifa scandal debate - The Rugby Observer
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Rugby MP enters Fifa scandal debate

Rugby Editorial 4th Jun, 2015 Updated: 27th Oct, 2016

RUGBY and Bulkington’s MP has asked the House of Commons why previous allegations against Fifa were not taken seriously.

Mark Pawsey spoke in an urgent debate on the scandal which rocked the world football governing body when over a dozen of its officials were indicted on corruption charges last week.

During the debate, he said: “Fifa has investigated itself many times and given itself a clean bill of health. Why have previous allegations not been taken sufficiently seriously and why has it taken action by the United States authorities to get us to where we are today?”

Responding, Sport Minister John Whittingdale said: “Fifa has previously promised that allegations will be investigated, but when (former New York district attorney Michael) Garcia was appointed to carry out an inquiry, not only did his report fail to address some of the most serious allegations, but it was redacted and not published, much to the distress not just of all those observing Fifa but of Mr Garcia himself.

“Fifa’s repeated failure to take these allegations seriously and to conduct proper inquiries has led to the position we are in today.”

After the debate, Mr Pawsey added: “Many of my constituents have contacted me about this issue. We have many passionate football fans in Rugby and Bulkington and they are rightly concerned that FIFA is tarnishing the reputation of the beautiful game.

“For many fans and players whether at junior, grassroots or professional level, the news of these latest allegations against FIFA did not come as a surprise. As the nation that gave the world the sport of football we have an obligation to make a stand against this kind of corruption and weed it out of the game.”

Fifa is in crisis after Swiss authorities arrested a string of officials on corruption charges and opened criminal proceedings over the awarding of the 2018 and 2022 World Cups.

The arrests were made on behalf of US authorities after an FBI investigation that has been underway for at least three years. The US Department of Justice said authorities had charged 14 officials, nine of whom are current or former Fifa executives.

In November last year the governing body’s ethics committee decided, after an 18-month investigation by Michael Garcia, there was not sufficient evidence to justify stripping either Russia or Qatar of the 2018 or 2022 World Cup tournaments.

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