Many Americans would describe soccer as “non violent, slow, or boring”. If they were to take a look at people who run the show outside the field, they would realize it is more like a Copolla movie. Who runs the show you ask, the FIFA, what’s the FIFA, here is there mission statement:
FIFA’s mission is to develop football everywhere and for all, to touch the world through its inspiring tournaments and to build a better future through the power of the game. What FIFA stands for.
Awareness around soccer in the U.S. is on the rise. Major events like the World Cup helped the process but it wouldn’t be fair not to mention Loretta Lynch, the U.S. Attorney General, and her role in promoting the Federation International de Football Association’s illegal activities! Lets be honest here, saying that the U.S. usually couldn’t care less about the ”soccer planet”, but loosing the right to host the 2022 World Cup ( to Qatar) most likelly due to bribery, had a price.
On Wednesday May 27, seven FIFA executives were arrested in Switzerland, and seven other corporate co-conspirators were added to the list by the end of the week. While FIFA is supposed to be a non profit organisation, they all are prosecuted for bribery. For a total of $150 millions (without considering the amounts that couldn’t be proved) It is still not clear whether the U.S. will go after the federation’s president Sepp Blatter, FIFA’s “emperor”. The IRS chief of criminal investigations said to the New York Times he was expecting to have an other round of indicments, but he didn’t mention names. Sepp Blatter was even re-elected FIFA’s president on Friday May 29, as if nothing happened. Some of his collegue ask for a public resignation, like Michelle Platini president of the UEFA, the Union of European Football Associations.
It would be naive to pretend FIFA’s members weren’t aware of the constant corruption around the federation’s activities, but people like Platini tried to stand against these practices. He tried and failed to persuade Blatter to quit before the FIFA’s presidential election. After he refused, because it was “too late” already, Blatter eventually changed his mind (the real reasons are still vague), and resigned 4 days after his re-election. The 79 yearls old Swiss called an extraordinary congress saying, “a new president will be elected to replace me”. Michelle Platini and the UEFA believe Blatter has made the correct decision, “It was a difficult decision, a brave decision, and the right decision”.
“We, or I, cannot monitor everyone all of the time… We cannot allow the reputation of football and FIFA to be dragged trough the mud any longer”, said Sepp Blatter. Hard to believe when you know the guy, and ironic when you consider that bribery has been commun practice among FIFA’s executives, for decades.
The former president made it look like he was leaving on a respectable note, but he deflected blame for the massive bribery and corruption scandal engulfing soccer’s world governing body!
While the U.S. Justice department pursues racketeering, wire fraud, and money laundering, the investigators are also examining the bidding process for both the 2018 and 2022 World Cups, scheduled to take place in Russia and Qatar. The last one which occured in Brasil during summer 2014, was already controversed. In the effort to build a “FIFA quality stadium” in the middle of the Amazon rainforest, the government spent $295 millions while uprooting acres of the most ecologically delicate region on the planet. Hosting a World Cup is usually synonym of interesting financial outcomes, and in a country where soccer is a religion, such an event should have impulsed a national craze. But Brasil spent more than 11 billions for the event, while the locals were outraged that transportation, education or healthcare were inefficiently run or underfunded. Brasilians were protesting during the World Cup, and no one really knew about it. Even workers died building the stadiums. Sepp Blatter said he was “deeply saddened” and that “safety of workers was a top priority”. Meaningless words once you know the FIFA is facing international revelations about “slave labor”, and multiple deaths during stadium constructions, especially in Qatar for the 2022 World Cup. You must know that so far, already 1400 stadium workers died for a “seven years from now World Cup”, and a total of 4000 is expected by the end it. This is how far it goes people, FIFA reached such a point of impunity that you can forecast how many workers will die no matter what, as collaterals, just so this impossible Qatari World Cup can take place.
As said before FIFA is a non profit organisation, but when selecting the countries which are going to host the main competions, or electing the president and executives, bribery most of the time seal the deal! Chuck Blazers who is a FIFA former executive was the first one to be arrested in 2013 by the FBI. To avoid ending up in prison, he became a secret informant, recording conversations, gathering evidences, so the U.S. justice could finally prosecute the FIFA efficiently, after decades of impunity. Blazers admited at the time that him and other members facilitated the acceptance of a bribe to select the host of the 1998 World Cup in France.
If you still feel confuse about the FIFA, here is a good two parts summary by John Oliver that will enlight you. Lets call it “FIFA for Dummies”.
First the 2014 World Cup in Brasil.
Then the 2015 FIFA scandal.