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Should U.S. Join the English and Scottish FA in FIFA Protest?

Soccer fans this weekend saw the best of the beautiful game pushed aside by the worst.  As Barcelona were dismantling Manchester United with passing and play that was textbook in perfection, the drip-drip-drip of allegations coming out of FIFA’s headquarters in Switzerland was deafening.  Mohamed bin Hamman withdrew from the FIFA president’s race under the dark cloud of suspicion that he had tried to bribe voters in his election campaign.  Then pictures were released allegedly showing (I kid you not) a case with $40,000 in cash that associates of CONCACAF delegate Jack Warner and bin Hamman delivered to a Caribbean delegate to buy their vote in the election.

Then the hits kept coming.  FIFA’s secretary general Jerome Valcke had to deny a report that he wrote an email to Warner saying that bin Hammam thought “you can buy FIFA as they bought the WC” (WC standing for World Cup).  bin Hammam is the head of the Qatar delegation, and Valcke had to issue a statement saying that, while he did write the email, he did not mean to imply the 2022 World Cup had been bought; Qatar issued a similar statement.  Meanwhile, current FIFA president Sepp Blatter (who has his own ethics charges against him) gave a bizarre press conference claiming that none of these reports constituted a crisis and that tomorrow’s election for FIFA president (where he is the only candidate) should continue.

Got that?  Basically, it looks like FIFA corruption (which has always been guessed at) is coming to light at a bad time; upwards of 10 of the 32 members of the sport’s governing body are under investigation for various corruption charges.  The British English and Scottish FAs have publicly called for tomorrow’s vote for FIFA president to be delayed, and the British English FA has said it will abstain from voting due to the current ethics situation. [note - apologies to English and British friends for misidentifying FA.  Mistakes were made]

The United States, which finished second to Qatar for the 2022 World Cup, should feel even more aggrieved than the English that their bid was possibly undermined by corruption, probably even by their own federation’s representative.  So how should USSF and Sunil Gulati respond to the controversy?  Should they follow the English, call for a delay in the election, and refuse to vote unless the current situation is satisfactorily resolved?

Here are my pros and cons, and please vote in the poll below:

Yes, the U.S. should follow the English and publicly condemn FIFA

  • The U.S. potentially has the biggest reason to be aggrieved by this corruption.  While the U.K. also lost out on a World Cup (2018), their vote was not even close.  The United States, with a few votes swung their way, would have won the contest for such a lucrative and important event.  If those votes were swayed illegally, then the U.S. has every right to be angry and should be a leader in trying to get to the bottom of the alleged corruption.
  • A few months after the results were announced, speculation was rife on the Internet that if Qatar was not ready to host the World Cup by a certain date, the U.S. would be a very viable fall-back option.  Of course FIFA would do everything in its power to prevent their gamble from failing, so this was never a really viable option.  However, if these allegations are true and Qatar and its allies bought the World Cup, FIFA (assuming a change of heart) would want to distance itself from such corruption.  What better way to do that then to give the 2022 World Cup to an outspoken reform proponent – the U.S.  It’s a stretch, but it may be a gamble worth taking.
  • An important factor to consider is FIFA’s sponsorship, the heart of their corporate enterprise.  Already, some of the sponsors like Coca-Cola and Visa has expressed discontent with the current process.  These are two American-based companies; if the U.S. came out publicly against current FIFA practices, then their threats may seem more legitimate and give both the corporations and the U.S. a stronger leverage point.
  • What if FIFA falls?  Not in the literal sense, but what if the reformers win and a cleaning process begins in FIFA headquarters?  The U.S., by coming out now, can claim to be leaders with England and Scotland of the soccer reform movement.

No, the U.S. cannot afford to condemn FIFA and Sepp Blatter

  • Right now, the big names calling for an election delay and reforms are England and Scotland.  England is despised by FIFA leadership right now due to their investigations that started the controversy, but England will always be the country that invented soccer.  As such, they will always be an important part of the soccer landscape.  The U.S. is still an upstart whose soccer league is at best the fourth most important sport in the country.  Coming out in front of the reform movement now could seriously harm any progress the U.S. has made in the international soccer community.  In short, gambling and winning may give a very good payoff, but gambling and losing would be a huge loss.
  • It’s a moot point.  The FIFA elections will be held tomorrow, Blatter will be named president for a fourth term, and any consequences will take place quietly and in the future.  The U.S. cannot make an impact on the process, so why lose any future clout just to make a point that will go no where?

35 Responses to Should U.S. Join the English and Scottish FA in FIFA Protest?

  1. Mark says:

    The Football Association runs English football

    The Scottish Football Association runs Scottish football

    English AND Scottish people are British!

    • Phil says:

      Forget about self-interest; it is self-interest that has landed Fifa in this mess in the first place. All national associations should do what’s right for the future of the game and that simply CAN NOT involve support for a flawed process, a corrupt governing body or the megolamania of an arrogant and pompous despot. The future of the game will be best served by scrapping the current organisation and starting from scratch ensuring popular concensus and support from all the world’s footballing associations.

  2. John says:

    It’s the English FA, not the British one – there’s no such thing. That’s why you have a Scottish FA.

    It’s not too difficult: England+Scotland+Wales = Britain.

    Therefore the Scots the English and the Welsh are all British, but not all British are English, any more than they are all Scottish or all Welsh.

    Northern Ireland adds complications to the definition of British, so I’ll ignore that for now and keep it simple. OK?

    • Stephen says:

      England + Scotland + Wales = Great Britain (GB), the island and also the name of the kingdom before 1801
      England + Scotland + Wales + Northern Ireland = The United Kingdom of Great Briatin and Northern Ireland (UK)

      All have separate FAs, although some teams from Wales play under English FA leagues – just to add to the confusion.

  3. AdamEdg says:

    Have Wales and Northern Ireland also come out against FIFA yet? It would be nice to see the home nations of the United Kingdom all speak up.
    While the US taking a stand would be a nice gesture, another mega power like Germany, Spain, Brazil, or Argentina standing up would be a huge blow to FIFA. One or two of those nations joining England and Scotland might be enough to incite many others to take a stand as well – enough to make the dominoes fall.
    Australia has asked for a refund of their bid money in light of the bribery completing screwing them from Day 1 of the bid process.

    • Mark 2 says:

      I suspect the other home nations will support, but it is the big European associations, Germany, Spain and Italy that would be most important IMHO.

      UEFA should have nailed FIFA over this long ago but Platini is too close to Blatter, his anointed heir. The UK media is into this in a big way though and will probably uncover that which is required to finish Blatter, but it may take a few months.

      Go on USSF, do the right thing.

      • ExtraMedium says:

        “Go on USSF, do the right thing.”

        The right thing would be to separate from MLS so we get a real soccer pyramid. GULATI IS USSF PREZ AND RUNS THE REVS PEOPLE!

        The USSF is more corrupt than FIFA.

  4. Yes. The USA should get involved. Canada should get involved. Belgium should get involved. Anyone country that has an interest in stopping corruption should get invovled. By postponing the election we increase the chance that there will be changes at FIFA before 2015.

    The latest news I heard was that Montenegro was backing English & Scottish FAs, and that there were some Anglophone & Francophone African FAs considering likely to support tomorrow.

  5. Robert Hay says:

    My apologies folks, the national identification in this post was originally very sloppy. As a student of history, it was a bad mistake on my part. I’ve tried to make changes above and correct the nationalities involved (as well as posted a mea culpa) so hopefully I caught them all. Thank you for keeping me honest.

    • Dave C says:

      You missed a couple – the headline still refers to Britain (which isn’t right unless Wales and N Ireland have joined the cause to make it a truely British protest). Also, the first bullet point under the pros list says the UK lost out on the right to host a WC. Technically it’s kind of right – England (as part of the UK) would be hosting the WC, and thus the UK would be hosting the WC…but it would be more accurate to simply say “England”.

  6. John Mills says:

    By not taking a public stand the USSF will be tainted with the stench of corruption bellowing from FIFA right now. For their own credibility they must distance themselves from everything that is Blatter.

    • Alex says:

      its a very fine line but i agree, but we shouldnt be doing this not only for our own credibility (we should build that through soccer) we have to do this because there is a cartel in switzerland (funny they called MLS a cartel, takes one to know one) and its name is FIFA.

  7. The 2022 World Cup should be awarded to the runner-up of the vote. Qatar is not deserving. A new vote is not justifiable. (like a beauty queen contest when the winner messes up and the runner-up takes over)

    Also, yes, there should be time to gather new candidates to have a new election later in the year for a new FIFA President.

  8. Andyb says:

    The American FA joining in wouldn’t really make much of a difference. The 4 British associations together however could make a huge difference. All together they do form half of the FIFA executive committee, so have a massive voice. Just need to beg the Northern Irish FA and the FAW now, but can’t see them joining it, they’ll be getting more power over the next 4 years guaranteed if Blatter is still in power, with members of their associations about to take up big titles in FIFA – unlike the FA and the SFA, and why would they risk that.

    • Mark 2 says:

      @Andyb

      I don’t think you are correct. The home nations have one seat on the exec which rotates amongst the associations. It’s currently occupied by Jim Boyce of NI.

    • Pakapala says:

      @Andyb

      You are confusing the FIFA ExCo with the IFAB (which is the governing body who oversea the laws of the game). That board is split between 4 FIFA members and the 4 UK FAs representatives.

  9. The original Tom says:

    Tim Vickory of the 5-live World Football Phone-in has some really interesting things to say regarding FIFA in this weeks podcast (Saturday May 28). While changes need to be made, FIFA’s role, in part, is to counter balance against the world’s richest, mostly european, clubs. The Qatar WC vote is not all bad. Still, the US should be part of this anti-corruption protest. FIFA’s hunger for money is ridiculous- it is supposed to be a non-profit that operates “for the good of the game”.

  10. Bolacuadrada says:

    Wow! My childhood dream may one day come true. I always thought of FIFA as a monopoly. I always thought that since FIFA toys with small meaninless nations like the one I was born in (Honduras), the ones to stand up have to be the big ones. It is about time it happens. I love US soccer and it would be great if we support the Britanic nations agains the FIFA mafia. I know that if a small nation does it, FIFA will just put a sanction and nobody will even know about it. When in comes to powers like England and other soccer powers, a diference can be made. I know southamerican nations will not support the cause because their soccer is dictated by the three corrupt amigos(Grondona, Texeira and Leos). What about Spain? FIFA has lughed at them the last two years. Spain did no get to host the 2018 WC, they did not get recognition for having the best player in th WC, and they did not get recognition for having FIFA’s best player last year. People will say it is not FIFA’s decision but most of us know how they influence whatever selection is made. Go USA. Go Gulati, are you at the side of what is right? are you with them? I am afraid it may be worst; you may be one of them!

    • Alex says:

      i dont think Gulati is one of them however i do think he is very twisted in many ways. he shouldnt be president of USSF. remember he was one of the founding fathers of the MLS structure along with Hunt, Anschustz and is president of Kraft Soccer, on the FIFA committee for the confederations cup and on the concacaf committee. i dont think he’ll want to drag USSF into this even though we are just as involved in this as everyone else. i dont think we have much to lose if we stand up and join the protest. FIFA cant punish USSF. it will be bad for FIFA trying to shut people up on that large of scale.

      • Charles says:

        Talk about TWISTED. Because Gulati started our soccer league, you state he should NOT be president.

        Wow.

        Kind of like going on the MLS Talk site and calling soccer loving Americans IGNORANT I guess.

        Nice post ( twisted comment )

  11. Charles says:

    Too much power in one place for too long. It never works out.

    Voting for more that. NO WAY.
    America, er I mean the US ;-) should protest instead.

    FIFA is a joke and if you don’t think that it affects that actual games.
    You are wrong.

    • ExtraMedium says:

      “Too much power in one place for too long. It never works out.”

      List all of Sunil Gulati’s jobs, then tell me the USSF *isn’t* corrupt.

  12. Alex says:

    I pretty much share the same pros and cons with you Robert Hay. Its only right that USSF stand up to fifa cuz we were the ones most affected by this corruption going on but my biggest concern is FIFAs view on MLS. Who knows what this will do with the progress of USSF and its leagues. We all know FIFA dislikes MLS for not having free agency for players, calling MLS a monopoly and no pro rel etc etc but the fact of the matter is is that USSF cant stand idle while Englands FA is fighting the battle for not only USSF but every FA involved with FIFA. i dont think FIFA will do anything rash to USSF, MLS or any league. Gulati better grow some cojones and join the fight. its a mine field but FIFA is just toying with all of us. this cant go uncorrected.

  13. Alex says:

    BTW i love it when Blatter just spits out “there is no crisis in football right now”. GOD that gets under my skin of course theres a crisis you dunce!

    • Dave C says:

      Reminds me of that Iraqi propagandist during the early days of the Iraq invasion, who would appear on TV saying “all rumors of an American invasion of Baghdad are completely innaccurate” while in the back ground, American tanks rolled by.

  14. Charles says:

    In the end only 5 nations abstained and 17 voted against Blatter. Wow.

    I don’t even know, is this vote transparent ? It IS FIFA, so my guess…no.

    186 nations on board with Blatter either to scared to cross him or to involved to vote against…..OR BOTH.

  15. blatterout says:

    Definitely… we should back the FA with all our power. The time to stand for what is right and just is now. Blazer is already being blackballed by FIFA – the new concacaf henchman is trying to fire him. No reason to try to play nice anymore.

  16. Martha Focker says:

    FIFA IS A JOKE, DEEP DOWN THEY KNOW IT. THESE CORRUPTED INDIVIDUALS WILL WALK IN SHAME FOR THE REST OF THEIR LIVES. THE PEOPLE KNOW THE TRUTH. WHAT COMES AROUNDS GOES AROUND.

  17. zentaiok says:

    I think like that.

  18. Stephen says:

    Platini should step up and use his voice as UEFA President. He’s clean and has good ideas.

    • The original Tom says:

      I agree except that I don’t see a European winning the FIFA presidency. FIFA is a counterbalance to Europe and it’s financial control of the game. Perhaps Platini can play a king maker role.

  19. Bob holly says:

    We shouldv protested. Then FIFA wudve cracked down on USSF and MLS like they should have already. Did u guys realize MLS is the only top division in THE WORLD that doesnt have a promotion and relegation system? FIFA has already called out MLS and USSF about it.

    Its about time FIFA cracked down on these moneydriven idiots at MLS and USSF (which btw is controlled by MLS).

    • montana lucky says:

      Blah Blah Blah Blah Blah Blah Blah Blah Blah Blah Blah Blah Blah Blah Blah Blah Blah Blah Blah Blah Blah Blah Blah Blah Blah Blah Blah Blah Blah Blah Blah Blah Blah Blah Blah Blah Blah Blah Blah Blah Blah Blah Blah Blah Blah Blah Blah Blah Blah Blah Blah Blah Blah Blah Blah Blah Blah Blah Blah Blah Blah Blah Blah Blah Blah Blah Blah Blah Blah Blah Blah Blah Blah Blah Blah.
      I am sorry, what were you saying again?

  20. Roger says:

    You have to be *&%&^ kiding me?!

    We dont even have a soccer league, we have an 19 franchises entity on a continent of thousands of cities. We dont even have soccer clubs on our “1st div”. Our USOC is a joke that excludes complete leagues just because a small elite said so! We have an USSF President involved with a franchise on an “entity” design by himself.

    AND YOU ARE MAKING AN ARTICLE ABOUT TAKING ON FIFA?!

    Why dont you make a follow up article about the:

    “If you were the comissioner what would you change” pool, done in this site.
    Why you have not make any coment about the results of such pool??

    LETS GO AND TAKE ON FIFA !!! Really?

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