FIFA Scandal: U.K. Politician Says BBC, ITV Should Not Pay for 2018, 2022 World Cup Rights

AP Images
2014 World Cup final

He calls the world soccer governing body "a stinking sink of corruption that has polluted everything it has touched."

A politician from Britain's opposition Labour Party has said that the BBC and ITV should not make their payments for the rights to broadcast the 2018 and 2022 soccer World Cups until FIFA reforms and reruns the bidding process for hosting duties.

"Is it not increasingly evident that FIFA is a stinking sink of corruption that has polluted everything it has touched?" The Guardian quoted Labour politician Chris Bryant as saying.

He added: "Would it not be wholly inappropriate for any money to pass from the U.K. broadcasters in respect of the 2018 or 2022 tournaments, unless and until [FIFA president Sepp] Blatter has actually left, rather than just declared that he is leaving, FIFA is reformed, and the 2018 and 2022 bids rerun?"

New U.K. Culture Secretary John Whittingdale said that he shared the "astonishment" about the growing scandal, saying "this whole saga becomes more murky and distasteful by the day."

But he emphasized: "However, if the World Cup goes ahead then I think it would be unfair to tell English fans, and indeed fans of the other home nations if their sides qualify, that they would not be able to watch their sides compete in the World Cup because the broadcasters were not going to purchase the sports rights to cover it."

He added: "The important thing is we get this cleared up long before we actually get to the World Cup in 2018.”

The politicians made the comments in a parliamentary session. The BBC and ITV weren't immediately available for comment.

Bryant later added on sports talk radio station TalkSport: “It’s not just the U.K., all the other European broadcasters who get their rights through the European Broadcasting Union. I think there’s a strong argument to say we should make sure no public money, license fee payer money or in some countries in Europe it’s straight from the taxpayer, that no money is going into corrupt pockets.”

The BBC and ITV last year signed a new rights deal with FIFA to broadcast the 2018 and 2022 World Cups. 

Twitter: @georgszalai

comments powered by Disqus