KEIR RADNEDGE COMMENTARY —- Thanksgiving will cut short this week’s further process in the FIFAGate in New York. For that FIFA president Gianni Infantino may himself give thanks.
The unedifying evidence given by former TyC ceo Alejandro Burzaco last week suggested that the $200m bribes figure once set by FBI and IRS investigators is far below reality and the game’s bosses are taking a battering.
Burzaco estimated that he had been the middle man in handing out $160m to directors and officials feeding on football with not a care in the world about the game itself. That is before the process deals with the likes of Jeff Webb, Jose Hawilla and the rest.
The Argentinian, to be fair, has been engaged in a plea-bargain deal with the United States authorities and his evidence should be considered in that context with the trial ongoing.
It was also easy for Burzaco to throw dirt at Julio Grondona, long-time president of the Argentinian FA and senior vice-president and finance chair of world federation FIFA. Grondona, after all, died in July 2014.
Burzaco conceded, in tears, that he feared his life would be danger if he returned any time soon to Argentina
Defence lawyers for ex-Brazilian CBF supremo Jose Maria Marin and Paraguayan former CONMEBOL head Juan Angel Napout sought to undermine Burzaco’s evidence as self-serving. But that was all too late to prevent the suicide of Jorge Delhon, one of the administrators of the Futbol Para Todos project in Argentina.
The overall picture was that the FIFA administrations of Joao Havelange and then Sepp Blatter had allowed a culture of greed to infect the highest governing echelons of the world governing body.
Grondona once said: “It’s time they paid football what football is worth.” Then he and his cohorts got in the way. This trial is payback time . . . up to a long-delayed point.
There is more to come.