I’m not one to dance on a grave. But I’m sensing a touch of the two-step coming on.
Let’s start this column out with a little vocabulary for you: “schadenfreude.” It’s German for the pleasure derived from the misfortunes of others, and it’s simply delicious. Now, I know what you’re going to say, “you shouldn’t do that, it’s bad karma.” Well, FIFA brought this hammer down on their own damn necks.
So with that welcome to my version of “Arthur Murray’s Dance School for Guys that Hate FIFA.” The first lesson is free. So, let’s tiptoe through the FIFA swamp together, shall we?
I bet you not one of the high-ranking officials at FIFA who were either arrested and/or indicted today has ever seen any of the Godfather films. Had they but given some research into how to properly run a multi-national conglomerate bent on money-laundering and racketeering they would have had much better luck. Too bad, so sad.
According to various reports, FIFA officials were arriving for their annual congress meetings in Zurich. As they snuggled into their thousand thread count sheets in their luxury suites the hammer came down. Swiss Law Enforcement Officials swooped in and snapped the cuffs on their French-cuffed wrists. You know you’ve done something on the really bad side of life when the Swiss arrest you. Meanwhile, in Miami, U.S. Officials took down the FIFA U.S. Headquarters.
As for the indictment filed by U.S. Authorities today, it can be found here and runs for over 160 pages. In the legal world, that’s a lot. Getting “criminal indictments” are like the super deluxe donut with sprinkles on top kinda goodie that Prosecutors and Attorney General’s crave.
As I thumbed through the indictment, it occurred to me that this was no ordinary slap-of-the-wrist indictment for “bad stuff.” This was the Full Monty of Indictments. Frankly, it could only get worse if FIFA officials conspired to kill someone and then actually killed that person…while playing a soccer game.
According to the indictment, there are hundreds of millions of dollars in bribes buried in the dirty laundry of FIFA for decades. There are 47 separate counts carried in this indictment. That’s a lot because generally a count is for a distinct and separate illegal act alleged. In short, this isn’t a parking ticket and that doesn’t include the charges for criminal forfeiture – that’s when the government says to the bad guys that they don’t get to keep the assets gained or used in the course of the illegal activity.
So, what does this mean for you and I? Well, if you love international soccer, it’s a bruise against the sport because if the guys that run the game are this crooked how safe is the game itself? Sadly, we won’t know the fallout for years to come.
I haven’t seen corruption this bad since Pablo Escobar financed the Columbian National Soccer team on ill-gotten gains of the Cocaine trade of the mid-80s. The difference, FIFA hasn’t killed anybody.
Frankly, FIFA doesn’t have to kill anybody. They have the host countries for the World Cup tournaments do it for them. According to the Washington Post, there have been over 1,200 deaths attributed to the construction surrounding the World Cup preparations in Qatar. We can no longer abide by these actions.
Further, we trudge through the muddy world of FIFA. According to CNN, Richard Weber, head of the IRS Criminal Investigation division said, “This really is the World Cup of fraud, and today we are issuing FIFA a red card.”
OHHHHH BURRRRRRRRRNNNNNN!!!!!! Give Weber some serious credit on that one, not only was it timely but he works for the IRS and he doesn’t get much time in front of the cameras.
Aside from the sound bites and the sizzling allegations, what impact is this having right now? Well, the 2015 Women’s World Cup is about to kick off in Canada. The U.S. Women’s team has a favorable chance to bring home the cup. Will that competition outshine this scandal? Not likely, I will watch the U.S. Women’s team. I believe we will win. That’s what we can do. We can push for change as fans of the beautiful game and haters of the corrupt machine.
Till next time, the revolution will not be televised.