The World Cup has a long, sordid history of corruption, with match officials taking bribes to call games favorably for the teams with big enough purses to afford it. And according to several anonymous sources, FIFA recently not only allowed these bribes to take place, but helped facilitate quicker transactions with a secret website that put club management in contact with corruptible referees.
In 2008, FIFA (Fédération Internationale de Football Association), the global governing body of soccer, allegedly created a nameless system, which several higher-ups had taken to referring to as the “QuickBribe” or “EZ-Bribe” system. It was a seemingly unaffiliated website with a Geneva IP address, where team managers and other senior-ranking staff could log in and perform simple, fast financial transactions, ranging from tens of thousands to millions of Euros. Teams/ clubs could bid against each other, too, with the highest bidder winning the bribe.
“FIFA never had a problem with corruption in football. They had a problem with corruption where they weren’t getting their cut,” claims one of the sources, who asked for anonymity fearing retribution. “With that website, FIFA was the well-compensated middle-man. They’d take anywhere from twenty-percent to eighty-percent, depending on the size of the deal and the notoriety of the teams.”
Another anonymous source, this one representing a powerful football club in England, confirmed the price-points. “I won’t say which competition it was, but we were given penalties that clearly weren’t penalties, while they were carded for fouls that weren’t really fouls. We paid a good £2 million for the service, and bribed the referee, a linesman, and the fourth official. To be honest, I didn’t even feel bad about doing that until recently, either.”
The bribery service extended beyond match officials, too, as one source, a footballer playing in the World Cup, claims. “I know lots of guys, at the club level and the national level, who’ve paid off cameramen and news companies, including BBC, ESPN, and others. They’re vain enough that they didn’t want to be shot from bad angles, so they’d pay upwards of ten grand just to have cameras cut away from them when they’re grimacing or spitting or cursing or whatever.”
All of the sources we’ve spoken with have confirmed that the alleged website was taken offline sometime in June, with most claiming it happened on June 10th… two days before the first match of the World Cup. However, most sources have indicated that bribes directly related to the World Cup were being accepted for months, with some bribes even affecting group stage draws. And most seem to believe the website will be operational again shortly after the World Cup. With so many news agencies involved in the scandal, it’s unlikely the story will get much press attention, if any.