If you haven’t been living under a rock for the past two years chances are you’ve heard about FIFA. If for some reason you have a been living under a rock, I will fill you in quickly.
FIFA (Fédération Internationale de Football Association) is a billion dollar non-profit soccer organization founded in 1904. The current president is Domenico Scala. Also, they are probably the most corrupt and powerful sports organization on the planet. To explain, they have enough power to control host countries of the World Cup. FIFA implements laws and rules at the expense of these host countries. For example, in 2003 the Brazilian government banned alcohol from stadiums because of its connection to the high death rate among fans. However, FIFA worked with one of their sponsors, Budweiser, to pressure Brazilian law makers to allow them to sell beer. Just to sum up how powerful FIFA is, it forced a country to break it’s own laws and receive no benefit for doing so.
In Brazil, soccer is a religion. However, when it was announced the 2014 edition of the World Cup would be held in Brazil, its inhabitants were very much against the decision. The reason being is that the government would spend a record $15 billion to get the country ready. Of course, all the money came from Brazilian taxpayers and FIFA did not pay a cent. The $15 billion that were spent could have been used in may other areas such as infrastructure, education, or any other area that actually needs the money. The ludicrous amount of money even went to a stadium that would only be used four times. $270 million was used to build a stadium in Manaus, a remote part of Brazil that can only be reached boat. Since there is no club team in Manaus, the stadium will not be used again anytime soon.
Since we have looked at some of FIFA’s past problems regarding host countries, lets take a sneak peek with what the future host countries face.
In 2022, Qatar will be hosting the world cup, a country physically impossible to play the sport in due to its temperature, estimated to be 122 degrees (50 Celsius) during the summer. Aside from the temperature, the deadly work conditions of Qatar is on track to become the deadliest middle eastern construction project as well as the deadliest World Cup. The death toll for migrant workers is estimated to be 4,000 by game day in 2022.
My previous post discussed gender inequality in sports. Connecting FIFA back to the 2015 Women’s World Cup, its corruption also interfered with the female players. Every game was played for the first time on artificial turf. “This is a gender inequality issue because no chance would the men ever play a World Cup on turf”(Sydney Leroux). In fact, no men’s World Cup has ever been played on turf. During Sepp Blatter’s FIFA reign, his solution to bring more attention to the women’s game was for them to “have tighter shorts. Female players are pretty.” This is a disgusting remark from a disgusting person, and I truly believe he is the worst person in any sports organization in history, including the NFL’s Rodger Goodell.
Sepp Blatter was re-elected as president in late June, but resigned three days after amid the corruption accusations. Furthermore, in the past 3 years, 24 executive committee members were accused of bribery, illegal ticket sales, and other scandals. All this happened because the United States conducted an FBI investigation into the organization. To put this into perspective, it took the country that cares the least about soccer to actually do something about the scandalous soccer organization. They were able to accuse high ranking officials of soliciting 150 million bribes. Since that historic day in June, Sepp Blatter and UEFA president Michel Platini have both been handed bans prohibiting them from engaging in any soccer related activities for the next 8 years. In addition, former FIFA senior vice-president Jack Warner is facing a lifetime ban for his corrupt actions over the course of his term.
FIFA has long been a corrupt organization and it is a shame that only now are they finally being looked into. Soccer has been the world’s most popular sport for decades and despite bringing the billions of die hard fans an incredible spectacle every four years, FIFA has done nothing but become greedy, corrupt, and unwanted as they continue to ruin the sport that so many love. Hopefully, in the near future, FIFA can become a clean organization that seeks to help the sports fans, rather than fulfill its personal agenda.