German Press has made revelations potential enough to stir a storm in the football world. The shocking reports have revealed that FIFA President Gianni Infantino has made a push to sell key FIFA properties to a “mystery consortium” of investors with links to Saudi Arabia in a $25 billion deal.
The “plot” reportedly included the rights of the FIFA World Cup and several other key properties. A report by bavarianfootballworks states that the documents in possession of Sueddeutsche Zeitung reveal that “Infantino is secretly planning to sell all relevant World Football Association rights to a consortium with connections to Saudi Arabia”.
The Infantino-consortium deal, if executed, will virtually render the world football governance without any powers. FIFA though has dismissed the documents as outdated.
SZ, in control of the leaked papers, has stated that the “investors” were offering $25 billion for the rights of the two new tournaments – a world league of national teams and a club world championship – Infantino has been pushing for since May this year.
“According to a secret declaration of intent, the plans include sale of almost all rights – digital and archive rights, films and videos , Satellite and network broadcasts, merchandising and playing rights, any production in high definition and 3-D format, computer games, all ‘virtual and any other format that is still being developed worldwide’. Rights to future football World Cups are also included. If the plan drawn up at the end of March were implemented, a financial consortium would have the say in future about the marketing of world football – Fifa would be left behind as an empty shell,” SZ, claiming to be in possession of the documents, has reported.
The “mysterious consortium” negotiating the reported deal posed a big threat to FIFA’s sovereign powers. British investment advisor SB Investment Advisers Limited (SBIA) and London-based investment firm Centricus Partners LP were reported to be the proposed FIFA advisors. The consortium maintains close ties to Saudi Arabia. The deal could have led to Saudi Arabia getting key position to decide or direct even on the venue of future World Cups. SBIA is a wholly owned subsidiary of the Japanese SoftBank Group
DILUTION OF FIFA POWERS
Further probe by the publication suggested that a new entity FIFA Digital Corporation (FDC) was planned to conceal the huge rights deal. The new body was being portrayed to run the proposed Club World Cup and the new World League of national teams. No harm in that. However, there was a shocking plan that even if the Club World Cup and World League failed to take off, the FDC would retain all the rights to FIFA’s competitions and content.
That would effectively render FIFA as a powerless, dummy governing entity, which would though maintain a majority 51% ownership with Infantino as the chairman of the FDC.
The move was described as “a raid on FIFA”.
Infantino had been pressing the FIFA Council to approve the deal.