BBC Panorama FIFA Expose: No News is...No News

So the BBC Panorama broadcast that promised to switch on the bathroom light and send FIFA's cockroaches scurrying for cover has come and gone.

And Zurich isn't seeing a run on Roach Motels.

Yes, Jennings came up with a document which names names. Yes, it shows that three current FIFA Grandees were sucking up bribe money like giant sponges.

Twenty years ago.

If you aren't familiar with the FIFA/ISL scandal which almost brought the House of Blatter crashing down, it's a long and sordid tale of greed and graft that's difficult to summarize briefly but I'll give it a go:

A "sports marketing" firm called ISL/ISMM - whose headquarters building was quite literally directly across the street from FIFA HQ in Zurich - contracted with FIFA, the IOC and other international sports governing bodies for various services including marketing sponsorships and selling TV rights.

In order to get these contracts, they bribed the living bejeezus out of anyone and everyone at FIFA. Much of the money passed through Liechtenstein and was filtered through various bogus foundations. Sometimes bagmen would literally show up in Zurich with suitcases bulging with cash for the insatiable greedbags who run the sport.

The whole thing finally collapsed very much like the proverbial house of cards when ISL, which had sold - and collected money for - most of the rights related to World Cup 2002 in Korea/Japan declared bankruptcy, leaving FIFA's Executives with fat bank accounts but FIFA itself stone broke.

At it's most simple, ISL was in charge of selling everything that FIFA has to offer, but FIFA never saw a dime of it. And since World Cup revenues make up roughly 99% of FIFA's operating budget, the organization was in desperate straights.

But all of this came to light back in 2001. It's not "news" so much as "historical perspective".

(Any other CEO on Earth would have been immediately sacked, but Blatter was re-elected that same year thanks largely to Jack Warner, who stood by him.)

The whole thing finally went to trial in the Swiss city of Zug and the only reason that happened was because some idiot at ISL set some bribe checks to FIFA instead of the individuals involved. A settlement was reached in 2008 in which FIFA, without admitting anything, paid a large fine. Part of the agreement was that all the records would remain sealed.

So what Panorama and Jennings did, basically, was come up with some documents - undoubtedly copies of court records - which show that three guys who are still around took money, among them Brazilian Ricardo Teixeira, the former son-in-law of former FIFA President Joao Havelange pocketed about $10 million bucks. (Havelange himself is on the payments list but he no longer has a vote, just a huge salary for keeping his mouth shut).

This is notable mostly because Teixeira is currently the head of the Brazilian Fed (CBF) and Chairman of World Cup 2014, in which position he is now, according to a Brazilian magazine investigation, feverishly signing contracts with himself for various goods and services.

But here's the thing: all of the money which Jennings documented was paid between 1989 and 1999, at a time when - not coincidentally - there was no law in Switzerland prohibiting offering or accepting business bribes.

So while you and I may be outraged, these guys didn't break any law. The only thing they were in trouble with Swiss authorities for was skirting around various "unfair competition" laws and operating what could be reasonably described as a corrupt organization, which is why they agreed to pay the fine.

So all that really happened in the BBC broadcast is they put a few names together with a few dollar amounts. Nothing more.

For his part, Sepp Blatter has already said that FIFA intends to take no action at all. He rightly points out that all these facts were revealed in court, a fine was paid and the case was legally closed.

Additionally, Jennings brought up the unconnected case of the news report from a few months ago which documented 84,000 World Cup 2010 tickets which CONCACAF President Jack Warner sold (or tried to sell) on the "secondary market" as they say.

Even if this particular report wasn't a few months old now, it's still not exactly shocking news: "Jack Warner Kites Football Tickets" is a dog-bites-man story. He's a filthy and corrupt bastard who peddles tickets to whatever he wants however he likes and keeps the money.

This is such an old tale at this point that when I wrote about Warner a week or two ago I got an email from a reader who asked me to please stop because it's getting boring and, while I don't entirely agree I get his point.

So the BBC wrote a story based on some old, old news, fleshed it out with a few new details, patched it together with some pro forma poking of the Warnerbeast and put it on the air at a time when it was guaranteed to draw a huge audience.

Fair enough, I suppose. It's not like this isn't straight out of Broadcasting 101.

But at the end of the day, there simply wasn't anything there that they couldn't have covered with a three minute piece on the evening news.