FIFA was back in the news this week, which almost always means a good hearty laugh followed by a sustained period of crying.
This week, we found out that the report conducted by American investigator Michael Garcia into the awarding of the 2018 World Cup to Russia and the 2022 World Cup to Qatar was, in fact, a practical joke.
Instead of releasing Garcia’s real report, FIFA instead published a 42 page document put together by German judge Hans-Joachim Eckert that cleared Qatar and Russia of any wrongdoing, and instead lampooned – get this – England, a country that wasn’t even being investigated.
It didn’t take long for Garcia to publicly claim that the report contained “numerous materially incomplete and erroneous representations”.
Garcia then said that he intends to appeal the findings of his own report to FIFA, the organization that he was reporting on.
There are a few questions here, and all of them are worth asking. For one, did FIFA think that Garcia wouldn’t notice, or wouldn’t remember his original report when they published a document – supposedly of his work – that seems to be at least partially fabricated?
Even if that process went through without a hitch, did FIFA really think the world would accept a report that lauded Russia and Qatar’s innocence while launching a vendetta against England and Australia as the document of record on the 2018 and 2022 World Cups?
It’s probably also worth mentioning here that Russia barred Garcia from entering the country and withheld most of the documents Garcia requested from review.
You only see FIFA’s level of delusion in movies. Speaking of movies, remember United Passions, FIFA’s movie about the history of FIFA?
It ended up being a poor attempt at propaganda. The film cost a whopping $27 million to make, and has at this point in time grossed almost… $200,000. At least know we know where all the bribe money is being used.
Garcia is not the only handpicked FIFA expert who has come to the fore recently. FIFA may have problems with their men’s World Cups, but they also have a major issue surrounding the Women’s World Cup, which is scheduled to take place this summer in Canada.
A group of prospective participants in the tournament have sued FIFA to play the World Cup on grass instead of turf.
Not only is it inherently sexist to mandate that women play their World Cup on turf when the men’s tournament would obviously never have to do something similar, but it’s the sexism is not surprising coming from an organization with an Executive Committee that had never had a women member when the World Cup was awarded to Canada.