KEIR RADNEDGE REPORTING —- Coming to a television screen near you some time soon: FIFAGate the mini-series, featuring all the corrupt directors and how they skimmed millions of dollars out of world football.
The series is being produced by Amazon and a central figure to be portrayed will be the late Julio Grondona, who died in the summer of 2014 while still holding powerful offices as vice-president and financial committee chairman with world federation FIFA and, simultaneously, head of the Argentinian association.
Grondona, who had presided over the AFA from 1979, reportedly received more than$12m in bribes linked to the awarding of broadcast and sponsorship packages for successive World Cups as well as Latin American international football.
Filming is due to start in April for the series to be entitled The President – meaning Grondona not the then FIFA president Sepp Blatter – and will delve into his plotting with Argentinian media executive Alejandro Burzaco concerning their $100m pursuit of broadcasting rights to the 2011 and 2015 Copa America and the 2016 Copa Centenario.
Hayek and Lopez
Guest appearances have been confirmed for Salma Hayek and Jennifer López for a series to be filmed in Argentina, Chile, Paraguay and Miami by director Armando Bo, winner of an Oscar for the film ‘Birdman’.
Evidence in the New York trial last year which brought guilty verdicts for Brazilian Jose Maria Marin and Paraguayan Juan Angel Napout heard bribery estimates between 2010 and 2016 of $10.5m for Napout and $655m for Marín.
Other estimated and alleged bribery sums included $4,4m for Peru’s Manuel Burga, $7m for Nicolás Leoz (Paraguay, former head of CONMEBOL), $7.1m for Eugenio Figueredo (Uruguay, former head of CONMEBOL), $6.55m for Marco Polo del Nero (Brazil), $5.9m for Luis Chiriboga ( Ecuador), $5.8m for Rafael Esquivel (Venezuela), $6.3m for 5.8 Carlos Chavez (Bolivia), $2.2m for José Luis Meiszner (Argentina, general secretary CONMEBOL) and $2.4m for Romer Osuna (Bolivia, treasurer ).
The so-called FIFAGate investigation by the US Justice Department erupted into the public domain in May 2015 and led to the indictment of more than 40 individuals and companies and concerned around $200m in bribes in football in north, south and central America and the Caribbean.
In October 2015 Hector Trujillo, former head of the Guatemalan federation, became the first person to be sentenced as part of the investigation. He was jailed for eight months after pleading guilty to wire fraud and conspiracy.
Out of reach
Three of the accused – former CONCACAF general secretary Chuck Blazer, Brazilian marketing magnate Jose Hawilla and Nicaragua’s Julio Rocha – have all died during the investigatory process.
US authorities have been unable to apprehend former Brazilian confederation president Ricardo Teixeira and successor Marco Polo del Nero while they remain in Brazil. A clause in the national constitution prevents extradition of its citizens.
Teixeira, former son-in-law of the late long-serving FIFA president Joao Havelange, is also wanted by Spanish prosecutors over fraud allegations concerning rights to Brazil national team matches.
Sandro Rosell, former Nike executive and Barcelona president, has been in detention on associated charges for the past two years.