What with soccer becoming more and more and more popular in North America, including locally, it may be time for the movers and shakers on this continent to get involved in the international operation of the game.
America, Canada and Mexico, because of the financial clout of their linked economies, should have a strong voice in the way the game their children are taking to in droves is organized and run.
Things on the international level are approaching International Olympic Committee disaster status, with FIFA, the overseeing body for all things football, being run by a venerable clique that is quite comfortable with its corrupt and incompetent ways – to the point that max-fixing is running rampant and small elites in entire countries are as invulnerable to common sense and law as the international committee honchos themselves.
How else to explain FIFA awarding and supporting the riot-inducing Brazilian effort towards for next year’s world cup, and shrugging off the riots that have been supported by iconic Brazilian footballers? How else to explain awarding the following one to the dictatorship of one of the hottest countries on the planet – scheduled for mid-summer to boot – without simply assuming such acts are the result of IOC level bribery schemes?
Be clear, FIFA and the IOC are run with Enron/Bernie Madoff levels of corruption, often vaguely admitted by those involved, and FIFA, in particular, dictates government policy, in the Americas and around the world, when it comes to football.
Just recently, the government of Cameroon arrested the head of football in that country for embezzling more than $20 million from the private company, not the mini-football empire, he also ran. FIFA’s response was to suspend Cameroon, perhaps the most popular African soccer state worldwide since the artful heyday of the effervescent Roger Milla, from all international competition because, according to FIFA, the government had interfered with, “the football federation of Cameroon,” by arresting its hand picked leader.
FIFA has been resisting rule changes, drug regulations and any suggestion officiating can be improved while irregularly publicizing its supposed war on racism (but not sexism or other civil liberty issues) and acting in often tragi-comic ways on that lone front.
Neophytes to the game probably thought diving was its worst problerm.
The current long-term president, Sepp Blatter, seeking to last two decades in the job, had competition for it this last time around – so he dispatched FIFa agents to dig dirt, like the fact his competitors took bribes like everybody else in the mix, to arrange a virtual acclamation for himself.
Who wants their children to aspire to get to the highest levels of a mess like that?
Soccer can be a, “beautiful game,” as Brazilians say, but there is little pretty about the way it is managed world wide.
As more of our children become involved it behooves us to work towards cleaning it up, making it healthy for society as well as individual people to embrace.