The Five Billion Person Party

Notes of a wandering American soccer fan

You Don’t Know Jack

Posted by steigs on February 11, 2008

The stink of corruption and sleaze has been a constant around FIFA in recent years, with questionable television and sponsorship deals.  Heck, the awarding of the 2006 World Cup to Germany was marked by controversy — hence the need to institute a “rotation” system to make certain that the aggrieved South Africans got the 2010 tourney. 

We Americans have little reason to criticize FIFA since our own region is dominated by a crook and slimebag of the first order, a man named Jack Warner.  Love the underdog Trinidad and Tobago team at the 2006 World Cup?  Warner is a big reason that team has fallen apart in acrimony.  He’s been caught with his hand in the till repeatedly yet skates free because he’s tight with FIFA’s leadership.  Ian Plenderleith does a service reminding us of his misdeeds:

It might also be mentioned that at last year’s Gold Cup, Guadeloupe reached the semi-finals, while T&T, with their best players suspended by the democracy-loving Warner, failed to get out of the group stage. Nonetheless, Warner found the performance “disappointing”, because, he told media, “when you bring back some of the top players [that is, lift their suspensions] you expect them to perform.

“You could talk whatever ‘big bucks’ you want,” he elaborated, “you could talk whatever football organisation you want, whether you are a trade union or not. At the end of the day, you judge how you play on the field.” Meanwhile, “irritants” such as the World Cup bonus issue, due for settlement by arbitration in London next month, were holding the team back.

It all makes sense. The team played badly because they formed a union to try and claim the money they’d been promised, and because they were a little suspicious of the Federation’s claim there was no money left in the World Cup pot after expenses. Then the player’s lawyers revealed that there was $30 million mysteriously missing from the Federation’s financial calculations.

$30 million?  That’s real money in the US — imagine how far that would go in Trinidad.  Wonder how much of it is in Jack’s pocket? 

Hopefully, one of these days “Uncle Phil” Anschutz, with all his billions, will help oust this guy.  We should put our own house in order.  On the field, the US has come a long way in international soccer but, let’s face it, we’re still learning.  But we should be a leader in keeping sports clean — lord knows, we’ve had enough practice.

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