While 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."
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