European Business and Russia’s World Cup

While everything seems so much clearer with regard to Nicolas Sarkozy’s open lobbying of FIFA to pick Qatar, and the controversial purchase by the country’s sovereign wealth fund of a stake in German construction giant Hochtief, why not some wild speculation and guesswork about how Russia got picked from the Guardian:

Germany has similar business imperatives, and just maybe they also influenced its executive-committee member, Franz Beckenbauer, though we cannot be sure. It is known that Beckenbauer is close to Gerhard Schröder, the former Germany chancellor.

Schröder, who is on the board of Gazprom (which is also the €16m-a-year sponsor of Schalke, the big club in Schröder’s native region). Maybe Gazprom’s Nord Stream Gas Pipeline, linking Germany to Russia under the Baltic Sea, was bringing Moscow an early dividend ahead of its opening next year when Beckenbauer voted for Russia for 2018.

Not much in the way of evidence there, at least not until they can dig somebody up who can talk about bribes. Nevertheless, the British are being pretty sore losers on this one.