The Russian 2018 World Cup bid team leased their computers. We know this because the FIFA ethics report into the murky double bid campaigns for 2018 and 2022 tells us so. After the Russian’s emerged victorious, the bid team returned to their day jobs and the IT assets returned to their owner, wiped of every trace of email or document, before being donated to schools.
Which is as it should be, of course. This is actually not suspicious at all. A temporary business sets up and leases everything for the finite period it will operate. At the end of the project, sensitive to the needs for data security, possibly regulated in some way, they have the hard disks wiped before returning the equipment to its owner. Big tick in the WEEE box Vlad and friends!
Now I am in no position to cast aspersions on the activities of Russia and Qatar. Human rights issues and the heat of a Middle Eastern summer might be surmountable, but I won’t have the Russians hauled over the coals for their data protection procedures. Apparently the English bid team provided FIFA with all emails and documents. We were open and honest and cooperated with the serious investigations to the best of our abilities.
Maybe the English team bought the computers, or borrowed office space at the FA, and their equipment has also returned to the day job. Maybe that is why all the documents were so readily available, but on the face of things, the Russians behaved perfectly reasonably.
The suspicious amongst us, mostly outraged journalists who seem keen to paint the FA team as whiter than white, despite some very undignified sucking up to some distinctly unsavoury characters during the bidding process, have tried to paint the inability to provide all documentation as some sort of guilty admission.
It is nothing of the sort. The Russian’s provided some information. Reasonably, there would have been some documentation they needed to keep and they clearly did so (safely I hope). They chunked everything else before returning their stuff.
It really would be quite funny if Sepp Blatter gave the Russian FA an award for exemplary WEEE procedures. Russia might have some racial problems and a bit of a thing about homosexuality and Qatar might (allegedly) have bought their result in container loads of crude oil, but you can’t fault them on their WEEE.