FIFA Trial: Fox Sports Accused of Playing Role in Bribing Officials


Fox Sports has been dragged into the Fifa scandal after being accused in court of paying bribes to secure football rights. Burzaco, who pleaded guilty and is now cooperating with the US government, is the former CEO the Argentinian sports marketing firm Torneos y Competencias.

Fox Sports, Televisa in Mexico and Globo Comunicacao and Participacoes SA in Brazil did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

The allegation was one of a number of bombshells during Burzaco's almost seven hours of testimony on Tuesday in the trial of three South American soccer officials accused of bribery and money laundering.

On the stand, Burzaco said a company he helped control, T&T, routinely paid bribes to soccer officials in exchange for rights to the Copa Libertadores and Copa Sudamericana, two popular club team tournaments held in South America every year. They say it was signed by a former Fox executive.

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As evidence of the scheme, prosecutors at the trial at a federal court in New York City produced a 2008 agreement for the partnership to pay $3.7 million to a holding company in Turks and Caicos that was an alleged conduit for the bribes.

When Leoz failed to vote for Qatar to host the 2022 World Cup at Federation Internationale de Football Association headquarters in December 2010, Teixeira and Grondona rounded on him, Burzaco testified. Prosecutors claim the three accepted bribes in exchange for the award of rights to soccer tournaments.

Burzaco said he bribed all three defendants, alleging that Marin received payments of 300,000, going up to 450,000 a year. "Are you the one not voting for Qatar?'" he quoted them as saying.

The three of them would have received around 600,000 a year in bribes, he said.

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They are Jose Maria Marin, ex-head of Brazil's Football Confederation, former FIFA vice president Juan Angel Napout, who was elected president of CONMEBOL in 2014, and Manuel Burga, who led soccer in Peru until 2014.

After one meeting where arrangements were made to wire Marin a portion of a $2m bribe, Marin "gave me a hug and showed me his gratitude", Burzaco said. At another, Burga "told me he was happy collecting the bribes", Burzaco said.

The former marketing executive also claimed that several of the region's best-known broadcasters that he had partnered with had paid bribes to football officials to secure rights to games.

After being charged in 2015, following a morning raid on a hotel in Zurich, Burzaco testified that he briefly went into hiding before deciding to turn himself in and cooperate.

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