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FIFA corruption charges are only the tip of the iceberg

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The FIFA corruption charges from the US Department of Justice today come not as a major surprise, but the first truly public salvo in the attempt to wash out the clearly rampant corruption inside soccer’s governing body. But for the steps that were taken, there are clearly many more needed to establish the real change football fans crave.

It’s no coincidence that those charged by the Justice Department today all came from CONMEBOL or CONCACAF, since those corrupt members were more likely to do business with US banks, allowing the US to legally press charges and force extradition. Most of the names given are also entirely unsurprising, and this includes Traffic Sports whose tentacles are all across CONCACAF and US Soccer.

In Jeremy Schaap’s E60 piece on Blatter and FIFA corruption, Phaedra Almajid commented about the corruption at the AFCON soccer congress, and this batch of charges does nothing to indict Asian football officials such as Mohammad Bin Hammam, who also has corruption allegations looming over his head. There is also the ongoing Swiss probe of FIFA officials there, which has led to the reports that certain Swiss nationals including Blatter have been advised not to leave Switzerland until further notice. The upshot is: FIFA is now being gunned down from all sides, but as this organization has proven constantly, not even the most massive amounts of public pressure can change FIFA’s own metronome.

These charges also do not deal with the voting for FIFA events, only media rights tenders for tournaments and competitions in the Americas (which likely has FOX, Bell and NBC executives shaking a bit, but that’s another story). Whatever the reason to bring about the charges, this investigation is a wonderful first step in beginning to untangle the web of deceit, lies and corruption at FIFA that has strangled the life out of the beautiful game. But it is just that, a first step.

Change at the top of FIFA is likely the only way to begin to reform the organization, and Sepp Blatter was not charged in today’s round and not only likely will not be (even as E60 has reported Blatter has been advised not to step foot on US soil for fear of charges being pressed against him directly), he will more than likely be re-elected as FIFA President on Friday. And despite Blatter’s steadfast claims that the World Cup in 2022 will remain in Qatar, Blatter voted for the US to be host. This underlines Blatter’s ability to remain in a cone of innocence even as he has enabled the toxic culture of FIFA to not only persist, but thrive.

The detailed attempt by US and Swiss officials to begin to publicly prosecute corrupt officials is a step that no one has taken and it should and has been commended. No matter what public statements are issued by Sepp Blatter, how many officials (many of them no longer working at FIFA) get banned, how many protestations come from UEFA and US soccer leaders; all of it is mainly lip service.

This is the tip of the iceberg in tackling institutionalized corruption inside FIFA. As someone told me this morning, today’s charges are, “small fish being sacrificed for publicity, a classic organized crime move”. Once the big fish are reeled in, only then will true change come to an organization that needs it the most and a sport that needs it the most.

 

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6 Comments

6 Comments

  1. Dean Stell

    May 28, 2015 at 4:16 am

    Here’s a curious question……

    Is US Soccer clean and uncorrupt?

    I don’t know what the answer to that question is, but lots of times there are calls for US Soccer to “take a stand” or “push for reform”, but maybe they’re just as corrupt as the rest of them.

    • Flyvanescence

      May 28, 2015 at 5:08 am

      Its actually kind of obvious that we are just as corrupt. But ‘Merica!

    • Pakapala

      May 28, 2015 at 9:50 am

      “Is US Soccer clean and uncorrupt?”

      @Dean
      Exactly!
      Let me put it this way: people say even if Blatter doesn’t himself take or give bribes, he should be led liable because things like that happens on his watch and there’s no way he cannot know. Well how about the USSF? If scandals like that happen under their watch how are they not held accountable? How can we learn about the Copa America 2016 being at the center of this investigation and not come to the conclusion that USSF is squeaky clean in all this?

  2. Seth Israel

    May 28, 2015 at 1:57 am

    According to Kartik Krishnaiyer the NASL is responsible for the corruption. LoL

  3. Rick

    May 28, 2015 at 12:17 am

    Likely scenario, CONCACAF breaks up with the US, Mexico, and Canada forming the basis of another Federation minus any of the Caribbean nations but likely all the Central American nations. UEFA expels Russia and possibly shrinks further by removing voting privileges of smaller federations. Presidential elections will no longer require 209 votes but a single vote per confederation. World Cup bidding now happens in rounds with open ballots and the final vote is a confederation vote that must be unanimous. No more even splits of World Cup revenue. Each Federation will only pay a % to FIFA and each nation sells its own media rights. The office of President becomes term limited to one four year term.

    • Brn442

      May 28, 2015 at 8:39 am

      @Rick, not going to happen.

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