Sports ‘n’ Things: FIFA corruption no surprise

"...those of us who pay even slight attention to the world, the cynicism will grow, and congeal in our hearts."

It is no shock to anyone who pays the least bit of attention to the world, the soccer world (which is the whole world, really) in particular,  that there is massive corruption involved in the, “leadership,” of any enterprise from which the potential payoffs are large.

So, it is unsurprising that FIFA, like the IOC, has, “leaders,” who organize the finances (and, necessarily, the sport itself) to their own benefit and that of their colleagues around the world.

What is truly surprising is that so few of the people whose money is on the line – consumers of the sports product and the output of the commercial sponsors involved – give a damn. Even the fact that their is cheating both off and ON the field cannot stop people, most without lots of extra material wealth to throw around, from thrusting both their hearts and their wallets at these enterprises.

Our media in general, despite the apparent current glee at the scandal in FIFA, where very high level (but not the highest) executive players have actually been indicted, actually loves the corrupt systems in place – the situation most likely plays to their bottom lines better than an open and honest playground would ever do.

We should expect little change, the price still being paid by grass roots volunteers who develop the product for others to sell. Sepp Blatter will be re-elected today by the very organization his leadership has carried into worldwide disrepute, at least in part to keep potentially more honest eyes from seeing the data.

Executives from most of the federations involved, who benefit from  most of the shenanigans being vaguely exposed this week, will both keep their jobs and keep supporting the shenanigans.

Blatter, who blithely admitted being aware of a massive bribe to one of his Swiss-based lieutenants only two years ago – without remotely believing he had done anything wrong – will go on as he has gone on, and appoint new, “ethics,” commissioners he can ignore.

And among those of us who pay even slight attention to the world, the cynicism will grow, and congeal in our hearts, while we feel less like putting out effort to support even local programs for our youth, especially the elite programs which are designed to create product for the real world, like FIFA competitions.

We should, as Canadians, really be thankful I guess. Hockey is considered too minor league on the money tables to have attracted much interest from the affluent interests that foster the truly virulent corruption the, “bigger,” games do.

Witness to that is that Stanley Cup game sevens are scheduled in the two biggest media markets in the Western hemisphere this weekend and almost nobody outside Canada cares. The LA and NY Times have the games on back pages and Sports Illustrated’s website mentions them only on its sub-page while covering heavily the offseason of the NFL and an NBA final between two small market squads.

In fact the bigger hockey story in most Center of the Universe  media is that some small-time rich guy is pushing hard to get an NHL team into Vegas (with its at-best checkered history), apparently with some success.

So, Go, Hockey, Go, particularly Go, Smokies, (who seem to be on track for another BCHL season of hope in spite of recent terrible results) Go. We still have a little trust in the honesty of the effort on the ice – if not the grass, anywhere – at least.