Top media companies ‘paid bribes’, football corruption trial hears

A series of leading media companies paid bribes to secure multi-year rights deals for football matches, according to the testimony of a prosecution witness in the ongoing US football corruption trial of three of the sport’s former administrators.

Alejandro Burzaco, the former chief executive officer of the Torneos y Competencias sports marketing agency, claimed that US broadcaster Fox Sports, Televisa in Mexico, Brazilian media group Globo, Full Play Argentina and Traffic Group in Brazil were among those to have paid bribes.

Torneos and Fox Sports jointly owned a sports marketing venture, T&T Sports Marketing, Burzaco told the court in Brooklyn.

Globo denied the allegations, while Televisa said that the company would need to know more about the testimony before commenting. Fox Sports did not offer an immediate comment.

The three men standing trial are Juan Ángel Napout, the ex-president of Conmebol, the sport’s governing body in Latin America; Manuel Burga, the former president of Peru’s national association, and José Maria Marin, the ex-president of Brazil’s national governing body.

They are the first individuals to stand trial as part of the long-running US investigation into allegations of football corruption worldwide.

The charges relate to allegations of bribery and kickbacks surrounding rights for football tournaments, including the Copa America and Copa Libertadores.

The trial continues.