Most people only recognize FIFA from that video game they used to play growing up.
On the surface, FIFA — or the Federation Internationale de Football Association — should be wholly lovable. It’s the governing body of the world’s most favorite sport, and organizes one of the biggest international competitions in the World Cup.
Or, as Americans know it, the two weeks every four years when they actually care about soccer.
We all played the video game, though. And we were all always Brazil.
But anyway, when you really get down into the nitty gritty — and I don’t think I’ve ever used the words nitty gritty before, nor am I entirely sure what it means — FIFA is actually one of the most corrupt organizations there is. It has a decades-long history of accepting bribes, committing fraud and laundering money illegally.
It doesn’t choose countries to host the World Cup based on merit, or logic, but on what they received from them under the table. Look no further than the 2022 World Cup, to be played in Qatar, where temperatures can reach 120 degrees Fahrenheit. It makes no sense.
And they leave countries in a much worse state than when they entered, forcing them to spend billions of dollars and build ridiculously sized stadiums that won’t be used ever again, while pocketing all of the money themselves.
Also, its president’s name is Sepp Blatter. Just sit on that for a little bit.
For a humorous, Sparknotes explanation of why FIFA sucks, just watch John Oliver’s 13-minute diatribe on the organization during an episode of Last Week Tonight from June 2014.
But FIFA finally got what was coming to them. And of course it was America to the rescue, because we pretty much have to do everything. The U.S. Department of Justice on Wednesday announced the arrest of 14 officials in an indictment that contained 47 counts of wrongdoing. One committee member allegedly cast the deciding vote to give South Africa the 2004 World Cup after he accepted a $10 million dollar bribe from the country.
It’s just so ironic that the country that’s so notoriously indifferent to soccer was the one that stepped up to the table to take down its governing body.
USA! USA! USA!
I didn’t even do a USA chant anytime during Memorial Day weekend. But I did now. I am a horrible American.
When the next video game, FIFA ’16, hits stores, it needs to be revamped to accurately reflect the current state of the organization. Instead of playing soccer, you get to roleplay as a corrupt committee member, deciding which country’s money you wish to illegally take to give them the World Cup.
It would be like a white-collar, administrative version of GTA.
That would be a terrible idea, actually. Just stick to soccer.
And hopefully, moving forward, countries will actually get awarded the World Cup because of their favorable soccer environment, and not because of how much satisfaction they provide under the table.
That didn’t come out right.