Witness Accuses Fox Sports of Bribery at FIFA Trial

Published: 15 November 2017

Fox Sports logo copyFox Sports logo (Photo: Fox Sports)

By Renee Picard

A prosecution witness testifying on Tuesday in the trial of three former South American football officials claimed that Fox Sports was allegedly involved in the FIFA bribery scheme.

Alejandro Burzaco, former CEO of the Argentine sports marketing firm Torneos y Competencias, told the New York City federal court that Fox—along with other media outlets including Mexico’s Grupo Televisa and Brazil’s Globo— paid bribes in order to receive broadcasting rights to major tournaments, reported The New York Times.

Prosecutors backed up Burzaco’s statement by presenting a 2008 contract, signed by former Fox executive James Ganley. The contract claimed T&T, a sports marketing company that is jointly owned by Torneos y Competencias and Fox Pan American Sports, paid US$ 3.7 million to a holding company in Turks and Caicos.

Burzaco told the court that the money was actually used for bribes.

The trial of José Maria Marin, Manuel Burga and Juan Ángel Napout that began on Monday is part of the extensive probe into the multinational FIFA bribery scheme that allegedly lasted 24 years and involved more than US$ 150 million in bribes.

Fox Sports denied late Tuesday Burzaco’s accusations. “Any suggestion that Fox Sports knew of or approved of any bribes is emphatically false…Fox Sports had no operational control of the entity which Burzaco ran,” the broadcasting company said in a statement.

Burzaco has been aiding US authorities in the FIFA corruption investigation since he pleaded guilty to racketeering, wire fraud and money laundering in 2015. On the witness stand Tuesday, he also admitted to paying bribes to the three defendants.

Former Fox executive Ganley is already a defendant in a 2016 lawsuit in which the Florida football network GolTV accused him and other Fox executives of paying bribes for broadcast rights, reported Reuters.