Many will argue that in corrupt organisations the rot starts from the top, something that folks in this country are likely to agree with. That rule also applies to Fifa, football’s worldwide governing body, run by a buffoon who may well be the most hated man in all of the sport.
As Fifa president Sepp Blatter gears up to battle Prince Ali bin al-Hussein in Friday’s election, all is obviously not well. So unwell, in fact, that this morning saw seven officials arrested at the prestigious Baur au Lac hotel in Zurich. Here’s the BBC:
The seven Fifa officials were arrested after the US Department of Justice issued a 47-count indictment charging 14 defendants with racketeering, wire fraud and money laundering conspiracies in a 24-year scheme.
“The indictment alleges corruption that is rampant, systemic and deep-rooted,” said New York attorney general Loretta Lynch.
“It spans at least two generations of soccer officials who, as alleged, have abused their positions of trust to acquire millions of dollars in bribes and kickbacks.”
Among the seven arrests was Fifa vice-president Jeffrey Webb, a clear indicator of just how rife the pay-offs had become.
So what of how Russia and Qatar came to be awarded the 2018 and 2022 World Cups, the latter undoubtedly the most widely criticised decision of Fifa’s dire history?
A separate criminal investigation into how the 2018 and 2022 World Cups were allocated has also begun.
But Fifa has already ruled out a revote, insisting Russia and Qatar will remain the respective hosts.
Of course they have, those money-grabbing turds with interest in little more than lining their own pockets, all whilst paying lip-service to the notions of spreading the game and developing it at grass roots level.
As a side note, just by the way, many of the stadiums are being built in slave-like conditions by around 40 000 Nepalese migrant workers, 185 of whom died on the job in 2013 alone. Even though many lost family and friends during the recent quake back home they have been denied the chance to return for the funerals. This from Sports Illustrated:
…those [Nepalese workers] on World Cup construction sites are not being allowed to leave because of the pressure to complete projects on time.
I suppose the blame for that lies at the feet of the Qatari government, although those who chose to award the tournament to a country with such an atrocious record of human rights abuse must shoulder some responsibility too.
I don’t know if Sepp Blatter has a firepool at his house but, were he to spontaneously combust, you wouldn’t catch me helping him find it.
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