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Thursday, May 28, 2015

Explaining the FIFA Soccer Scandal to a Non-Soccer Audience

Today's posting is about something most Americans do not care about..

The world's most popular sport:  Football/Soccer

Well there are some Americans who care about the sport and preserving the game's integrity, specifically the US Attorney General and the FBI who have started arresting people as part of an ongoing corruption probe of FIFA, soccer's governing body.

This is a complicated topic to people who really know next to nothing on the sport or how business is done overseas when it comes to dealing with FIFA so we'll try to explain as simple and clear as one can..
Let us say a city in the United States would like to host something as large as the Super Bowl or something as relatively modest as the USA Swimming national championships.  So what happens is that city puts together a bid package it hopes will be a winner in the competition against other cities vying to host the same event.

This bid will contain incentives, which could range from very reasonable accommodation and transportation arrangements during the event, to donations to development programs, to whatever else might make for a successful bid.

It would be standard that officials of the organization that controls the event would visit the various bid cities to study the facilities and infrastructure of the bids, and would be treated very well like VIPs while visiting.

This is standard business.
Now the world of international soccer, as has been long understood, things work a bit differently, but the basic premise of the deals - offering something of value for something you wish to have - has always been the same.

As was laid out in a Department of Justice indictment unsealed Wednesday, sponsors who wish to have their names linked to prestigious tournaments, media outlets that wish to broadcast those events, and cities or countries that wish to host them...  Well they have to do more than pick up soccer officials at the airport.

They have to pick them up and also bring along suitcases full of money.

This is called racketeering, and that is a No-No..
In a joint news conference held by Justice, the FBI, and the IRS, the case was laid out against 14 people who face prosecution for a variety of crimes that also include wire fraud, bribery, and money laundering.

Of course most local newscasts or sports talk radio around the country did not spend any time on this because its 'soccer' and Americans look down on any sport they didn't either invent or dominate while participating..

But we digress..

So how do nations like Russia (2018 World Cup) and the shitty Arab nation of Qatar (2022) get to host prestigious World Cups?
Simple:  Lots n' lots of suitcases full of money to lots n' lots' of people

It's easy to pick out the soccer scumbags and easy to understand how they became that way..

Those who wished to influence voting for the awarding of various events targeted representatives from poor or developing nations.

It is a fact that votes have long been purchased, and that's how you get a World Cup in Qatar, a dirty nothing shit country with a long list of human rights abuses including discrimination toward women, hatred toward gays and Jewish people and is geographically such a hot and inhabitable place, the 2022 cup will have to take place in wintertime.
So why is soccer allowed to be this corrupt, especially on the International level?

Simple:  Its corporate partners, in the areas of sponsorship, marketing, and media rights, shrug and play along.

How did FIFA choose to award an international sponsorship to Coca-Cola and not Pepsi-Cola?

How were the U.S. rights to the next two World Cups won in a bid process by Fox and not ABC/ESPN?
How did Fox get the 2026 Cup without any bidding process?

So many more as of yet unanswered questions..

We heard rumors that the Justice Department and FBI are also targeting Nike for their role in this corruption scandal.    Lord willing, the head of Nike will be arrested, found guilty and the apparel company forced to file bankruptcy and go out of business

We can dream..
All sports are corrupt in some way..

From Roger Goodell, commissioner of the NFL allowed to act as a God by 32 soulless billionaire owners who are content as long as the profits increase, to what the NBA did to Donald Sterling, infringing on his due process rights and the illegality of having a franchise stripped based on words everyone says or thinks at one time or another..

But football/soccer is the King of corruption even surpassing the Olympics if that is possible..
And while most will shrug and think why is the US govt wasting time on this, it is in fact a very good thing they're so actively involved because sports collectively are a multi-billion business and employs in one facet or another countless thousands of people and affecting dozens of nations' economies around the globe.

And now that you finished reading this, assuming you're American, you know much more than 99.9% of your countrymen & women