BBC BLOGS - James Pearce

Archives for December 2010

Fifa should learn from IOC

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James Pearce | 15:18 UK time, Tuesday, 7 December 2010

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A decade ago, the International Olympic Committee was mired in a corruption scandal that was far bigger than anything that has so far been proved against Fifa and any members of its executive committee. 'Cash for votes' was not just the subject of allegations, there were hard facts to prove that IOC members had taken large bribes.

So it is fair to say that, when it comes to corruption, the IOC does not have a track record of which its members can be proud. Salt Lake City won the right to host the 2002 Winter Olympics by offering scholarships to the children of IOC members, land in Utah and other lavish gifts. It is hard to hold any discussion about corruption in sport without referring back to a scandal that could have brought down the Olympic movement.

The IOC would love to forget about this sordid episode. You could understand, therefore, if senior members of the IOC went red with embarrassment at any mention of the word "corruption", if such talk was now banned at the headquarters in Lausanne. In fact, the opposite is the case and there is a great deal Fifa could learn from the IOC's example.

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Where sport and politics meet

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James Pearce | 10:39 UK time, Wednesday, 1 December 2010


Zurich, Switzerland

Reporting on the 2018 and 2022 Fifa World Cup bids this week makes me feel a bit like Charlie in that chocolate factory. I love sport and am fascinated by politics. Add the two together, throw in a touch of royalty and you'll understand why I count myself as one of the holders of those golden tickets.

What sport and politics have in common is their unpredictability - and this sums up the drama of the World Cup bidding process. How about we put 22 powerful men in a room together and tell them to elect the nation which will host one of the world's biggest sporting events - a competition likely to generate billions of pounds. I guarantee intrigue, tension, excitement and, yes, plenty of drama.

Ten years ago, I was here in Zurich to report on the 2006 bidding decision. I had covered much of the final month of that campaign, making a film for Newsnight on the closing stages of England's doomed bid. Wherever I travelled and whomever I spoke to, I was told that South Africa had it in the bag. "Sepp Blatter (Fifa president) wants South Africa to win," they all said, "and Sepp Blatter gets what he wants."

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