The amount of millions that Fox Sports paid to broadcast the World Cups in Russia 2018 and Qatar 2022 comes to light
Fox Sports obtained the rights to broadcast the World Cups in Russia (2018) and Qatar (2022) for the United States thanks to the intervention of the then president of the Argentine Football Association, Julio Grondona, a witness told the trial of two former executives of Fox.
The Argentine Alejandro Burzaco is a key witness for the New York prosecutor’s office in the trial of his compatriot Hernán López and the Mexican Carlos Martínez, both former senior executives of Fox, and the Argentine marketing company Full Play, accused of corruption, bank fraud and money laundering, uncovered in the mega-scandal that rocked FIFA in 2015.
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According to Burzaco, Hernán López, then head of Fox International Channels, asked him to intercede with Julio Grondona, the late Argentine soccer czar and then influential FIFA vice president and chairman of the financial committee of the institution that governs world soccer, to in favor of Fox’s offer to take over the television rights to the 2018 (Russia) and 2022 (Qatar) World Cups for the United States.
Grondona informed Burzaco that if “Fox offered 400 million dollars” the contract would be for them, which the witness told Hernán López.
Fox Sports managed to get the lucrative television rights for that sum, in a meeting held on October 21, 2011, for the two World Cup events “to great disappointment” on the ESPN network, which had broadcast all the World Cups since 1982.
Upon his return to Buenos Aires, Grondona told Burzaco: “look Alejandro, I did this favor to you and Fox but this is the last time I do it for free. From now on they will have to pay a 10% commission,” the witness said in court.
For the Latino market, Telemundo won the contract with an offer of about 600 million dollars, above Univision Communications Inc., which had broadcast all the World Cups since 1978.
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Throughout four days of interrogation -he will continue on Monday-, Burzaco, who in 2015 pleaded guilty to corruption and reached an agreement with the New York prosecutor’s office with which he now collaborates in exchange for paying a fine, has broken down the system of bribes and kickbacks erected in South American football to obtain the rights to broadcast and organize sporting events.
He assured that the T&T Cayman company (25% owned by Torneos (which he presided over) and 75% by Fox Panamerican Sports) had paid between 30 and 32 million dollars in bribes until 2015 to successive Conmebol executives, including Grondona himself. , to guarantee the television rights of the matches of the regional tournaments, such as the Copa Libertadores and Copa América.
The only ones who did not receive bribes were Chilean Harold Maynes Nicholls and Uruguayan Sebastián Bauzá, Burzaco said.