Fox Sports accused of bribing FIFA for the rights to previous World Cups
Corruption cases continue to be uncovered in the world of football and this time the issue has reached the television stations in the United States, which had been involved in a strong dispute over broadcast rights of the recent World Cups in Russia and Qatar.
The AP Agency unveiled a new scandal which was testified by a former director of ESPN, who, before a federal court in the United States, alleged that the 2018 and 2022 World Cups could have been sabotaged by the Bristol-based company.
A carnival float depicting FIFA president Gianni Infantino is seen during the ‘Rosenmontag’ carnival parade in Cologne.STRINGERREUTERS
ESPN and Univision’s bid was rejected in favour of FOX
John Skipper, former president of ESPN, and his lawyer, declared before the court that despite the offer of $900 million divided equally that ESPN and Univision put on the table to secure the rights to the 2018 and 2022 World Cups, FIFA granted the broadcasts to FOX, a company that entered the bid with a much lower figure.
This is the testimony that was alleged: multi-million dollar bribes that would have paid for illegal contracts, not put up for auction, all which ended with FOX holding the broadcast rights.
Similarly, AP revealed that prosecutors argued that these bribes allowed two former Fox executives (Hernán López and Carlos Martínez) to have with them confidential information from senior football officials, especially FIFA, which helped Fox get the rights to the World Cups with the help of FIFA in exchange for a million-dollar offer of $425 million, less than the $450 million each that would have been given by both ESPN and Univision.
ESPN sought a chance to match the highest bid for the U.S. English-language rights to the 2018 and 2022 World Cup, but FIFA rejected the network amid scrutiny over granting the tournaments to Russia and Qatar, former ESPN president John Skipper testified today pic.twitter.com/jT88j7FjUP
— Samuel Rubenfeld🔥 (@srubenfeld) February 21, 2023
Fox the beneficiary of the US broadcasts
In the end, the last two World Cups were broadcast in English entirely by Fox, while Telemundo was awarded the rights to broadcast in Spanish in exchange for $600 million.
However, Fox denied any involvement in the bribery issue and claim that they have cooperated at all times with the authorities to clarify the accusations.
Story developed with information from AP.