On the TUNNEYSIDE of SPORTS June 8, 2015 #544 Coming next…Moral courage wanting!
After further review…”Fie, foh, fum, I smell the blood of a British man” is a line from Shakespeare’s “King Lear,” spoken by the character of Edgar. Many of us will recall a similar couplet used in the classic English fairy tale “Jack and the Beanstalk.” That venerable rhyme came to mind again recently, when the U.S. Justice department – led by Attorney General Loretta Lynch – announced the arrest and indictment of 14 soccer and sports marketing executives. The “smell” was not of a single “British man” this time, but rather, the stench of corruption taking place at the highest levels of FIFA.
The 162-page document names nine FIFA (Federation Internationale de Football Association) members and five associated sports marketing officials. The indictment specifies that “…the defendants and their co-conspirators corrupted the enterprise by engaging in various criminal activities, including fraud, bribery, and money laundering, in pursuit of personal and political gain.” How much gain, you ask? How about an alleged $150 million in bribes and schemes linked to rights for tournaments in North and South America. Five of the seven arrested in Zurich, were either FIFA vice-presidents, executive committee members, or both. The indictment cites $10 million as having been being wired to corrupt North American officials, in exchange for voting for South Africa as the 2010 World Cup host. Also in question are the votes that placed the 2018 and 2022 World Cup events in Russia and Qatar, respectively.
FIFA president Joseph S, “Sepp” Blatter, the most prominent man in the world of “football” (as soccer is known globally), was elected to his fifth four-year by a vote of 133-72, just days after the arrests. “Definitely that is not me,” said Blatter, concerning an unnamed top-level executive tied to the investigation. “I have no $10 million.” As he has done in years past, Blatter shrugged off accusations of personal corruption, and refused to resign, when the U.S. indictments were made public on May 27. On June 2, Blatter resigned, pending a FIFA special election.
Of great concern here are millions of kids around the world who start out just “kicking a can” in the street and alleys, dreaming of playing in the World Cup one day. They share those dreams with young American boys playing “touch” football in their own streets, dreaming of a chance to play in the NFL. And they share them with all the kids who shoot hoops nailed to garage doors, hoping to hit “nothing but net,” like a Steph Curry three-pointer (if the hoop has one).
Will you maintain a high degree of integrity in whatever you do?
Three of Jim’s books, which contain examples of integrity: (“101 Best of TunneySide of Sports,” “It’s the Will, Not the Skill,” and Impartial Judgment”) are available at the value price of $40. –a $20. discount off the list price. Please email him at the above address. Thank You!