This week the sports world was left reeling (well not really ‘cause DUH, but OK, now it’s out in the open) when it was revealed that FIFA is corrupt (too early in the piece for another DUH?) and that the FIFA World Cup was awash with bribes and kickbacks (how about now?).
Shock. The beautiful game filled at the bottom with 18 year olds earning 12 million pounds a year and at the top with old men earning 12 million pounds a year is a place where lots of money is changing hands. Not all of it collected from t-shirt and ticket sales.
FIFA President Sepp Blatter, a man with a name lifted directly from The Hitchhikers guide to the galaxy, has stepped down and will now spend the rest of his life wiping his tears with hundred dollar bills as he laments his fall from grace.
Even if everyone busted by the Americans (insert element of confusion here) goes to jail, they will not be sent to a correction facility where they may have to share a cell with someone named Big-Bubba whose fetish it is is to be held real tight at night dressed as Cinderella.
If any of them do end up doing time it will be at one of those prisons where you get to play tennis all day and study for degrees in watercolour painting and feminist literature, whilst instructing your wifey on the outside that while the sentence has been served, she must redecorate the beach house in the Bahamas. And nicely this time, with gold on ALL the taps, including the ones in the guest house.
The reason the Americans became involved in finally nailing the piggiest of pigs at the Sport-Is-Money trough is because they didn’t win any of their bids to host the FIFA World Cup, and they became confused when other countries (like the one where it’s generally hotter than the sun and there were no stadiums) did.
They smelled a rat. If only they were that vigilant about their own politicians.*Cough*.
In sport, like in life, some people are just greedy little shites. They cheat, they lie, they steal, they do all the things that other people do; only they do it whilst being physically fitter.
Tiger Woods is, or was, a great golfer until it was revealed- after his wife smashed his windscreen with a golf club ‘cause she is poetic that way- that he loved playing with his wood so much he would play every hole he could find.
Would this have been the same scandal if he hit off a 14? No.
Sportsmen, and woman, are heroes. When they falter, we take it personally.
No single testicle had more attention that the one left in situ by Lance Armstrong’s doctors and we loved him for it. When it turned out he cheated, his single ball seemed a little less charming. Tainted, as it were, by his own bad blood. Lonesome suddenly. He was no longer a God, but a cheat with only one gonad.
Oscar Pistorius was the symbol of ‘can do’ when he ran with fake legs to break all the records and show us that anything is possible. That ‘anything’ included trying to get away with murder. Had he been just another guy with a shotgun and a dead girl on his bathroom floor we would have said “South Africa really is a bit nuts, and that guy is a dick”, but because he was a sporting hero we said “How could this have happened? What possible reason could he have had, was it the drugs in sport?” No. South Africa really is a bit nuts, and it turns out Oscar Pistorius is a bit of a dick.
Remember Tonya Harding and Nancy Kerrigan? Back in the day in 1994, these ladies were beautiful (OK, Kerrigan was beautiful) swans dancing on the ice. Then Tonya Harding- the slightly butch, less beautiful one- paid someone to whack Nancy on the knee to break her leg. Subtle? No. Plus it was on tape, so that was not smart either. At first no one linked Harding, but then she came out and confessed and made a sex tape. Or her ex-husband did. Or someone did (not Nancy, which seems like a wasted opportunity given she was the hotter of the two). We didn’t just dislike Tonya after that, we despised and even now, the name Tonya Harding is synonymous with being a butch bad sport.
Sticking with America, the mostly good and god fearing Mormons of Salt Lake City were shocked to discover years after the winter Olympics were held there, that the Salt Lake City Olympic Bid Team had bribed several high ranking IOC members to vote for them. Oops, say a little prayer there. Sound familiar Mr Blatter?
But the sports scandal that stands out for sheer ‘win at any cost’ ridiculousness has to be the one involving the 2000 Spanish Paralympic Basketball team who, having won the gold medal in Sydney, were later revealed to never having been tested for mental disabilities, which was the category they had entered into, and not only that but 10 of the 12 members of the team had NO DISABILITIES WHAT SO EVER. Oooh yeah baby. That is a stop-you-in-your-tracks moment in sport. No one went to jail for that one either, for the record.
Sport is a people thing, sometimes people make bad choices.
In the case of FIFA and the blow back for the World’s most popular (and yet least exciting) ball sport, it’s a case of wait and see. When the players of the game can get away with falling to the floor, writhing in agony when they’ve tripped over another man’s foot, or are stretchered off for getting grass stains on their shorts, the chances of firing let alone arresting everyone who cheats in Soccer are as likely sitting down to a game on Saturday and watching both teams score half a dozen goals by half time. Slimmer than Victoria Beckham’s wrists, and less likely to be in handcuffs.
#FOOTBALL #GOLF #FIFA