FAIR member talks about football and corruption at Brazil IJ conference

The corruption in the organization of world football’s biggest event was the main problem addressed in the lecture “World Cup in Africa: lessons for 2014″

Charles Rukuni delivered an insightful presentation at the 7th International Congress of Investigative Journalism of Abraji, on 14 July 2012.

Zimbabwean journalist, Rukuni is editor at the Forum for African Investigative Reporters (FAIR), a nonprofit organization that, in addition to producing reports, assists financially journalists to do the same.

The journalist explained that the process of investigation corruption in the Africa Cup consisted of several phases, as a choice pan-African team (Nigeria, Ghana, Ivory Coast, Cameroon, Zimbabwe, Zambia, and Kenya) worked through the investigative questions.

During the investigation it became clear that there was interference of the International Federation of Football Associations (FIFA), which threatened to change the host country when there was something that displeased them.

“The problem is that FIFA is corrupt”

Because of this, some journalists, mainly from South Africa, were afraid to publish stories about, among other things,  cases of embezzlement and overpricing of public works. “FIFA was protecting moguls and corrupt people. They stopped the government from investigating, claiming it would interfere with the sport,” he said.

To illustrate the structure of world football, Rukuni made an analogy with the sport itself. “In a football match you have a referee. But if the referee is corrupt tou have a problem. FIFA is corrupt -how will you prevent corruption at lower levels, if the main institution is corrupt?” he asked.

Rukuni also cited extreme cases, such as the assassination of a whistleblower in a corrupt stadium construction scheme in South Africa, and the case of a journalist from Cameroon, who left the profession after a series of threats. “We (FAIR) tried to convince him to continue in the profession, but he said his life was worth more than a story,” he said.

About the 2014 World Cup, Charles highlighted the event as an opportunity for journalists to do investigative reporting. “You have to ask yourself: who is taking money from the tickets? And more importantly, is this money transparent or corrupt? To investigate, you have to follow the money.”

To illustrate, he cited the release of documents by the Swiss Courts, which may incriminate the former president of the CBF, Ricardo Teixeira and the honorary president of FIFA, Joao Havelange, as a matter to be investigated by the press.

By: Philip Germano

Source: ABRAJI 

* About the Congress: The 7th International Congress of Investigative Journalism is a realization of Abraji and Anhembi Morumbi University, with sponsorship / support of TV Globo, Mail Braziliense, Embraer, ESP, Sheet, Goal, Group Bandeirantes Iguatemi, McDonalds, The Globe, Hi, Tam and UOL, and cooperation of the National Newspaper Association, the U.S. Consulate General in Sao Paulo, FAAP, Forum for the Right of Access to Public Information, Journalists & Co., Knight Center, Lincoln Institute of Land Policy , Oboré, Open Society Foundations, Pand Books, Propeg, Textual and UNESCO.

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