As briefly as possible, what’s just insane about FIFA.
FIFA and its surrounding scandals push the limits of hyperbole.
You can’t make this stuff up.
José Hawilla forfeited $151 million dollars, 25 million of which he had already been paid. Paul Allen could walk into the Seahawks locker room with 500 pounds of PEDs, call Roger Goodell ten different gay slurs, and give every official a new car and not get fined that much.
When we’re talking about money of that magnitude, and about the world’s most popular sport, and about unbelievably powerful people, sense and reason dissipate.
We’re talking about the people who control the Beautiful Game and use corrupt bargains to place the world’s biggest international tournament in Sochi (and the Olympics showed us what a bad idea that is) and Qatar (where it’s so hot the tournament can’t be played in the summer). The World Cup’s 2018 and 2022 locations are so bad we’ll forget about burdening the nation of Brazil with it in 2014, when the world’s most soccer-addicted country protested against holding it’s biggest tournament, and where they built a new stadium in the rainforest to hold just a handful of games.
And what makes it all that much more mind-bending is that everyone knew this was all going on. Everyone just accepted that FIFA, the governing body of the world’s most important sport, was one of the most corrupt organizations in the world. And the guy that kept getting re-elected to lead this organization, Sepp Blatter, was known by all to be the cartoon villain at the head of this evil league of international gentlemen.
Just imagine if someone learned, in one day, everything about soccer, and then was told about the corruption of FIFA and Sepp Blatter. They would, with great urgency, call someone in power to let them know what they discovered, or at least to find out what was being done about Blatter. That poor person would promptly receive a shrug of the shoulders. If we translated this into Star Wars, I think it would work like a slightly edited version of that part in Revenge of the Sith where Anakin tells Mace Windu he thinks Palpatine is a Sith Lord and Mace incredulously replies, “A Sith Lord? Are you sure?”
Anakin Skywalker: I think Chancellor Palpatine is a Sith Lord.
Mace Windu: No duh Anakin. Everyone knows that.
Anakin: What? The Council knows?
Windu: Yeah the Council knows. The Senate knows. Padmé knows. Watto knows. Jar Jar knows. Literally everyone but you knows that Palpatine is a Sith Lord.
Anakin: Then why hasn’t anyone done something?
Windu: Well we can’t really prove it.
Anakin: But you know?
Windu: Yeah. I mean it was a little strange that a senator from the New Zealand of the galaxy took over after a suspect vote of no confidence in Valorum’s leadership all while his nation was getting bullied by the Trade Federation’s Roger-Roger and Hammerstein. And that the bureaucrats who ran the show stayed around after he was in office. And that an indigenous screw-up who ruined the first film for half the audience convinced the Senate, a notoriously slow-acting group, to quickly grant emergency powers to Palpatine. And that the Separatists managed to put up a good fight against the Republic, despite us having better soldiers, weapons, equipment, and telekinetic, future-seeing ninjas as generals.
Anakin: Yeah, now that you mention it, I’m not really sure how he knew Padmé was in trouble. And he knew a lot about this mysterious Sith Lord named Plagueis. Are you going to do something about it now?
Windu: I guess. I’ll go confront him with Kit Fisto, Saesee Tiin, and Eeth Koth.
Anakin: And you’re sure they won’t get killed like punks when Palpatine uses the most basic saber moves imaginable, leaving you to fight a Sith Lord on your own? You’re sure you shouldn’t wait for someone else to come help?
Windu: Nah. Ride or die, Anakin.
We all know this is a big deal. A really big deal. And somehow, we’ve all just learned to accept it.
And let’s not make any mistakes about how important Blatter’s position is. Despite the fact that this video exists, Blatter and his position are no laughing matter. Anything that someone named Prince Ali runs for can’t be something to sneeze at. Yeah I know there are a lot of princes out there, but when you have a royal title in front of your name, you’re a big deal. And you could probably do all sorts of awesome stuff without having to deal with the headache of running a global sports body of governance. And yet, someone named Prince Ali was the leading contender to take Blatter’s position from him.
Like I said, you can’t make this stuff up.
What most interests me now is seeing what changes in the wake of these findings and further investigations, and with someone other than Blatter heading up the Galactic Empire. And we have reason to believe that there may be grounds for change, as Blatter’s resignation is not without reason. Obviously he knew he was corrupt all along, so why would he wait until after winning re-election to resign? There must have been some sort of legal finding that meant certain doom for him, which could mean that investigators are onto something big. But questions about where this will go still remain.
First and foremost, will things change at all?
I’m hesitant to speculate, but I’d have to say I don’t think so. I think corruption kind of comes with the global sports territory. This corruption is so massive and thorough that I find it hard to think that things will change anytime soon. As much as I’d love to believe that something can be worked out to move the World Cup from Qatar, and as much as I’d like to think that a new regime could end corruption, pick good places for the tournament, and continue to address the many issues that face soccer and the places where it is played, I kind of think business will go on as usual. And I think that mostly because the world loves soccer so much that no organization can make them stop. People will play and watch soccer no matter which Dark Jedi run the show.
I also want to know what this will mean for American sports fans and the growth of soccer in America. It’s obvious that this issue isn’t taking the place of importance that it maybe should in America. Just think if these kinds of things were happening in the NFL. Actually stop thinking about it, because it’s incomprehensible. As it is, we think Roger Goodell is evil. Papi calls him Fidel Goodell. We don’t like him, mostly because we just think he’s bad at his job. Can you imagine if he was heading up something that was corrupt in the line of 10 figures and violated human rights on a level above domestic violence? Americans have done a remarkable job of going on unaffected by these findings, and I don’t know if that says more about how much progress soccer still has to make or how much these finding don’t ultimately matter to the rest of the world. It’s possible that American’s still don’t really care about soccer, but it’s also possible that the world is really that immune to the evil of FIFA.
Maybe all of this is the beginning of the end for corruption in soccer. Maybe it’s all a blip on the radar. Maybe it will affect American soccer and maybe it won’t. I don’t know how big a deal this really is. Maybe in five years we will see this as the definitive moment in a great change in world football, and maybe we’ll have forgotten about it. I’m interested to see.
What I do know is that there are over a thousand people dead right now as a result of trying to build stadiums in the desert of Qatar. And there are millions of dollars in the pockets of FIFA officials as a result of putting the tournament there.
And that, my friends, is the work of the Dark Side.
Soli Deo Gloria