FIFA, the World Cup Selection and the FCPA


In a January 13, 2011 article in the Wall Street Journal, entitled “Qatar’s World Cup Spending Spree”, reporter Matthew Futterman detailed the “spending spree” of a reported one year amount of $43.3 million by Qatar, which led to its winning World Cup bid. Futterman’s article focused on information derived from the internal documents of Qatar’s bidding committee. Futterman reported that there was no evidence that Qatar violated the rules and regulations of FIFA to secure its winning bid. Rather he reported on how Qatar “worked within FIFA’s broad guidelines” to secure its winning bid.

From the internal bid documents, obtained by the WSJ, Futterman reported that some of the tactics used by Qatar included:

1. Charitable Donations.

2. Use of Marketing Agents.

We thought that it might be of use to review some of the tactics, as reported in the WSJ, that Qatar used to secure the 2022 World Cup bid, in the context of what might be allowed under the FCPA. It should be noted that, although still waiting to be implemented, the UK Bribery Act would apply to UK companies and citizens involved in the matter because there is no public/private distinction under the Bribery Act and unlike the FCPA, the Bribery Act does not have require that a bribe be offer or paid to a foreign governmental official, only that a bribe or offer to bribe be made.

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