A government witness in the FIFA corruption trial said Fox Sports and several other broadcast networks paid bribes to FIFA for soccer broadcasting rights, according to Ken Bensinger of BuzzFeed.
Alejandro Burzaco is the witness who said the media companies—which also included Grupo Televisa SAB, Media Pro, Globo, Full Play Argentina and Traffic Group—had bribed FIFA for the soccer rights. Burzaco, who pleaded guilty and is now cooperating with the U.S. government, is the former CEO the Argentinian sports marketing firm Torneos y Competencias.
According to Bensinger, Burzaco said his company had partnerships with all six companies he said offered bribes and that he was personally aware of the bribes. Burzaco also said the former CEO of Fox Pan American Sports, James Ganley, signed a fake contract in March 2008 to cover up a $3.7 million bribe paid for soccer rights.
Fox was given the broadcasting rights to the World Cup through 2026 in 2015 in a controversial decision that featured no bidding process with other media outlets for the U.S. English-speaking rights.
Fox Sports has the rights for the 2018, 2022 and 2026 World Cups, the 2019 and 2023 Women's World Cups and a host of other FIFA competitions like the FIFA Futsal World Cup 2024, FIFA U-20 World Cup 2023 and 2025 and FIFA U-20 Women's World Cup 2024 and 2026.
Burzaco's testimony is part of a trial of several ex-soccer executives, who were charged as part of an international investigation into corruption in global soccer.