Good Old Fashioned Graft

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We are so inured to corruption of all kinds that I really think most of us just take it for granted nowadays. In the same way that we always expected the Duck Dynasty idiots to be racist homophobes and the Duggar Family to be child molesters, we expect big business to buy and sell our politicians at every level. Beyond the loss of a few reality TV show sponsors, we also expect the perpetrators to go unpunished. So it was with something close to incredulity that I watched FBI agents and Swiss police people raiding the offices of FIFA today.

As a card-carrying Brit, I’m supposed to love the beautiful game of football, or soccer if you insist. In fact, as a card-carrying asthmatic incapable of running for more than a few seconds as a kid, I stayed back in the classroom and did needle point with the girls. Simpler times, I guess. I’ve always loathed soccer; I hate the macho hooligans who play it and watch it and I hate the constant spitting. I hate the endless statistics and ridiculous jingoism it generates. The antics of its governing board, FIFA, always struck me as perfectly matching the boring, boorish nature of the sport. Much like the MLB and the NFL, the sport got the governing body it deserves.

A few weeks back, the hilarious John Oliver (one of three reasons to keep HBO) did an amazing piece on the comic opera level of corruption which pervades FIFA. He brilliantly mocked the absurd level of old fashioned graft hidden in plain sight. Corruption so extreme that it could land the 2022 World Cup in the despotic regime of Qatar, a country where it’s 110 degrees in the shade most of the year and they are building luxury hotels for the games with what is essentially slave labor. I’m pretty sure most of us laughed and mentally shrugged our shoulders. Business as usual, what ya gonna do? Then this morning’s events.

It would be fantastic if the FBI and the Swiss Gendarmerie follow through and actually jail the greedy, arrogant idiots who have treated FIFA as their private ATM for many years. Perhaps next, they can go after the greedy arrogant idiots at AIG and BofA who crashed the world’s economy back in 2009, but I’m not holding my breath for that one. Anyway, Vive Le Sport!

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