DirecTV has direct ties to the FIFA scandal

DirecTV (NASDAQ: DTV) has a significant ownership and management stake in Torneos y Competencias, one of the sports marketing firms situated in the heart of a scandal rocking international soccer.

According to the Wall Street Journal, DirecTV owns 40 percent of Argentina-based Torneos. Last month, U.S. Department of Justice officials charged Torneos executives with paying--or helping to facilitate--bribes of soccer's international governing body, FIFA, in order to secure TV and sponsorship deals.

DirecTV, the WSJ report says, has four of the nine board seats for Torneos, which allegedly acquired broadcast rights to the Copa America tournament through a $100 million bribe to FIFA officials.

A DirecTV spokesperson said the satellite operator, which acquired its stake in Torneos in 2008, has "no management control" of the company, and that it is "following the matter closely to determine what, if any, actions will be appropriate."

The WSJ found a similar relationship between media giant 21st Century Fox and Torneos, as well as Traffic Group, another sports marketing firm at the center of the bribery scandal.

Fox's involvement in a joint venture between the two firms, T&T Sports Marketing LLC, gave the programming giant rights to two tournaments, Copa Libertadores and Copa Sudamericana, according to the paper.

In February, ESPN and Univision responded angrily after FIFA awarded U.S. broadcast rights to the 2026 World Cup to Fox and NBC's Telemundo without open bidding.

For more:
- read this Wall Street Journal story (sub. req.)

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