A THORNY ISSUE: Looking at the bidding process
Those involved in the bidding process for any games all have the same intention.
They all want to secure the particular event for their country and by any means necessary.
There is a great deal of prestige to host events like the Olympics and World Cup football.
Countries bidding for these games have been known to go two extra miles for the benefits they bring are enormous politically, socially and economically.
Thus, it is not by accident that countries use respected, high profile personalities to be central parts of their campaign.
The legendary Nelson Mandela was used in both of South Africa’s attempts to win the right to host the World Cup.
Track icon Lord Coe was projected in England’s bid to host the 2012 Olympics and world football’s pin-up boy David Beckham is very prominent in England’s lobby for the 2018 World Cup.
Lest we forget, governments also put presidents and prime ministers on board to add muscle and clout to their campaigns.
Icing to the cake
These are usually the ones who add icing to the cake, but they are not the ones who are in the kitchen baking the cake.
There are unknown and unseen lobbyists and foot soldiers who are in the engine rooms plotting and scheming to bring the bacon home.
It comes with a price and at a price!
I remember being at a Caribbean Football Union Congress in Trinidad in the years prior to the awarding of the 2002 World Cup, and I got a good enough insight as to how those working behind the scenes try to court one’s support.
What I am talking about is par for the course but the bidding process has come sharply into focus with the recent expose and subsequent sanctions imposed on two executive members of football’s governing body, FIFA. Their case came to public notice after they were apparently set up by a British newspaper.
Was there any hypocrisy in FIFA’s stance in this so-called cash-for-votes scheme?
How long has this alleged practice been going on?
How many individuals have made personal fortunes from the bidding process in the past?
The International Olympic Committee had to do lots of damage control over the Salt Lake City Winter Olympics scandal too.
Some executive members were suspended while others received warnings for allegedly accepting gifts which were intended to win their support.
In essence, there is nothing to stop us from speculating that other irregularities might occur in bids for events of a lower standing and prestige.
The plain truth in the real world is that you are not a criminal until you are caught or until you are found guilty.
Still, who would be so naive to think that in an effort to host major events, representatives will not come bearing gifts of all types, and in the case of developing countries, offer to assist with developmental projects?
And how do we determine which are over the board and which are not?
How are we to assess a Prime Minister inviting a hemispheric football head to lunch in a foreign country when his country is bidding to host a prestigious competition?
Silence is golden.
• Andi Thornhill is sports editor at the Caribbean Broadcasting Corporation. He can be reached at [email protected]