World Cup 2018 and 2022: Fifa releases bid ‘corruption’ report

Fifa World Cup 2022 bid

Qatar was awarded the 2022 World Cup in 2010, with Russia given the 2018 tournament

Football’s world governing body Fifa has released its full report into alleged corruption in the 2018 and 2022 World Cup bids.

It comes after German newspaper Bild published extracts of a leaked copy of the report on Tuesday.

The 2014 report was authored by former Fifa independent ethics investigator Michael Garcia.

He quit in protest when the organisation only released a 42-page summaryof his document.

That version cleared Qatar and Russia of corruption allegations but was critical of the English Football Association’s conduct in the bidding process.

Fifa said its president Gianni Infantino had always intended to release the full document, which has more than 400 pages, but its former ethics chiefs had refused to publish it.

The former chairmen of the ethics committee, Cornel Borbely and Hans-Joachim Eckert, were replaced in May after completing four-year terms.

Speaking in October 2014, Eckert said: “Publishing the report in full would actually put the Fifa ethics committee and Fifa itself in a very difficult situation legally.”

Fifa said it had intended to discuss the release of the report at a meeting next month, but added: “As the document has been illegally leaked to a German newspaper, the new chairpersons have requested the immediate publication of the full report in order to avoid the dissemination of any misleading information.

“For the sake of transparency, Fifa welcomes the news that this report has now been finally published.”

Why was the investigation started?

Garcia was appointed as Fifa’s independent ethics investigator in 2012 and asked to look into the 2018 and 2022 World Cup bidding process following claims of corruption around the bids.

They included allegations that disgraced Qatari football official Mohamed Bin Hammam made payments totalling $5m (£3m) to football officials in return for their support for the Qatar bid.

Qatar vehemently denied votes were being bought and said Bin Hammam had not been acting in an official capacity.

Garcia spent two years investigating the claims and looked into all nine hosting bids – including one by the England FA.

Russia won the right to host the 2018 World Cup, beating England as well as joint bids by the Netherlands/Belgium and Spain/Portugal.

At the same time, in December 2010, Qatar won the 2022 bid ahead of Australia, Japan, South Korea and the United States.

What were the findings?

Fifa released a 42-page summary of Garcia’s final report in 2014. It cleared Qatar of any wrongdoing, ending any possibility of a re-vote for a new 2022 host.

However, the report said there were “certain indications of potentially problematic conduct of specific individuals” – though Bin Hammam’s payments were judged to be for his personal political interests, not the 2022 bid.

Russia, meanwhile, was also cleared of any wrongdoing, though the investigation had “only a limited amount of documents available for review” because the Russian team’s computers had been destroyed.

The English FA was accused of acting improperly in trying to win votes and flouting bid rules, while Australia too received criticism.

What was the reaction?

While Russia and Qatar welcomed the report, the FA baulked at the criticism.

The man who led the investigation, Garcia, complained Eckert’s precis of his report was “erroneous”.

Eckert denied that, insisting of his published summary: “A lot of my report was word for word from the Garcia report.”

Garcia subsequently quit and Fifa’s critics said it showed the shortened, released report had been a “whitewash” and called for the full report to be released.

Almost three years later, they have got their wish.

[“Source-bbc”]

Trump’s disdain for diplomacy is making the world more dangerous

Donald Trump has shown no interest in advancing the UN-run Geneva peace process for Syria. Photograph: Saul Loeb/AFP/Getty Images

Trump is destroying America’s image around the world

It might seem like a subjective judgment to say that Donald Trump is wrecking America’s image. But a new Pew poll of 37 countries shows that this is measurable reality: Perceptions of the United States have collapsed since President Trump took office.

Pew asked people in countries ranging from Canada to Brazil to Russia whether they had favorable views of the US, and whether they had confidence in the US president to do the right thing in world affairs — questions they had also asked of people in these countries back when Barack Obama was president. The change between the Obama results and this year’s Trump results in Pew’s worldwide average are striking:

(Pew)

When you break down the results by country, things are even more eye-popping. Confidence in the American president has collapsed nearly everywhere:

(Pew)

This negative assessment of Trump, according to Pew, has directly translated into more negative views of the United States as a country.

“In countries where confidence in the U.S. president fell most, America’s overall image has also tended to suffer more,” the report explains. “Since 2002, when Pew Research Center first asked about America’s image abroad, favorable opinion of the U.S. has frequently tracked with confidence in the country’s president.”

Take the US’s neighbors, Canada and Mexico. Trump gets the lowest ratings ever recorded in Pew’s data for any American president in those two countries — and, under his leadership, the US has the lowest marks in its history as well. It’s even worse than the end of the Bush administration, when the US was mired in Iraq and the global economy was taking a bad turn:

(Pew)

“For the first time in 35 years, maybe much longer, a majority of Canadians have an unfavourable view of the US,” Daniel Dale, the Toronto Star’s Washington correspondent, writes.

There are only two exceptions to this trend, where the US does better under Trump than it did under Obama: Russia and Israel. In Israel, confidence in the US president went up by 7 points under Trump; in Russia, it was a whopping 42.

Obama was widely unpopular in Israel, particularly after the Iran deal and high-profile fights over both Iran and the peace process with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. Likewise, Obama took a hard line on Russia by the end of his administration, imposing crippling sanctions after Moscow invaded Ukraine. Trump … well, you know what Trump thinks about Russia.

But aside from those two very specific cases, the overall pattern is clear: Donald Trump is tanking America’s image around the world.

[“Source-vox”]

CBSE pulls up its Mumbai schools without special educators

mumbai

The Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) has pulled up its schools for not adhering to affiliation rules that make appointment of special educators to cater to differently-abled students compulsory.

Mumbai schools said there was a shortage of qualified teachers in the city, because few universities offer specialisations in it.

A special educator needs to work with children and young adults who require additional support to learn.

Appointment of special educators was made mandatory in 2015 under rule 13(11) of the board’s affiliation by-laws to promote inclusion of students with disabilities/special needs in schools according to the provisions of the “Persons with Disabilities Act 1995” and in conformity with the National Policy of Education.

Observing that many schools were not following the rule, Jaiprakash Chaturvedi, deputy-secretary of affiliation, said in a recent circular, “The management and the head of CBSE-affiliated schools are hereby directed to strictly follow the provisions and arrange to appoint special educators in schools.” He added that the schools will have to inform their managing committees about the provision for stricter compliance.

But city schools said it was difficult to meet this condition. DAV School, New Panvel, has been advertising for a special educator for the last two years, but did not find any qualified professionals. “We have been trying to hire a special educator since 2015. This year, we advertised twice but still did not get anyone good,” said Jayashree Khandekar, principal of the school.

Educators blamed it on the lack of courses available for special education. In Mumbai, only SNDT Women’s University, Churchgate and Juhu, offer a full course in special education, while few other private colleges offer short-term certificate courses.

There are barely 300 special educators in the state for more than 16 lakh children with learning disabilities, said Dr Harish Shetty, a psychiatrist who suggested that instead of mandatory appointments, the board can train regular teachers on basic remedial education. “This way, the existing faculty can be used for remediation, while authorised centres can carry out the tests,” he said. He said the human resource development ministry needed to start more courses on special education.

Some city schools are using counsellors in place of special educators or hiring them part-time. “We are unable to find full-time special educators, so our counsellor helps in remediation,” said Deepshika Srivastava. She added that although teachers have been sensitised in identifying students with learning disability, they could not pay individual attention to all because there were 40 to 50 students in each class.

 

 
[“source-hindustantimes”]