Russia won the right to host the 2018 World Cup through an array of underhanded means, including bribing French soccer legend Michel Platini with a painting by Picasso, according to The Sunday Times of London.
A painting, believed to be a Picasso, was allegedly gifted to Union of European Football Associations (UEFA) president and FIFA executive member Michel Platini in return for his support for the eventually successful Russian bid for the 2018 global showpiece.
Another FIFA voting member, Michel D'Hooghe, from Belgium, was also the recipient of a landscape painting, given to him in a package wrapped in brown paper by Viacheslav Koloskov, a former Russian executive committee member working for his nation's attempt to host the 2018 tournament, it is alleged in a report in The Sunday Times. [CNN]
The report is the latest to allege corruption within global soccer's governing body. A recent report from FIFA found little wrongdoing in the bidding processes for the 2018 and 2022 World Cups, despite the many claims to the contrary.