hile the world's media has been focusing on bungling referees and blown calls during the 2010 World Cup, writes Stefan Fatsis at the New Republic, it's been business as usual for the bigwigs in charge of the beautiful game. The sport's governing body — known worldwide by its French acronym FIFA — is a "house of privilege, arrogance and corruption" that makes the scandal-plagued International Olympic Committee look like the Supreme Court. Under the auspices of president Sepp Blatter, FIFA has endured numerous patronage and corruption scandals in recent years — yet has somehow retained free license to hand out contracts to its friends and cronies. Here's an excerpt:
"FIFA is essentially a shell organization. Its revenue--more than $1 billion annually--comes from television rights, sponsorship payments and tickets for the World Cup and other events it organizes. FIFA takes the money generated by those events and reimburses the local organizers as it sees fit. Some of the organizations FIFA subcontracts to conduct its work have direct connections to FIFA senior executives...
Take, for instance, that FIFA “hospitality-services” provider. It’s called Match Services AG. One of its principals? A nephew of Sepp Blatter, the FIFA president who, during his 12-year reign, has been accused of bribery, fraud and cronyism. Indeed, contracts for relatives and friends might look like conflicts to most reasonable people but represent business as usual in the palm-greasing, back-scratching world of the sporteaucrats who run FIFA."
- The 10 worst-reviewed movies of 2013
- Why Republicans shouldn't get too excited over Obama's stumbles
- Diagnosing the Home Alone burglars' injuries: A professional weighs in
- Watch The Daily Show mock the NSA and the gamers they're spying on
- Watch The Daily Show roll its eyes at outrage over Obama's handshake with Raul Castro
- 10 things you need to know today: December 11, 2013
- How did Love Actually become so controversial? A theory
- 7 enduring lessons from It's a Wonderful Life
- What the latest White House shake-up means for President Obama
- How does chocolate milk stack up as a sports drink?
Subscribe to the Week