In another life, I wanted to be in the FBI. This was sort of inspired by watching ‘Twin Peaks’, and finding that I had a deep and personal empathy for agent Cooper, whose mysterious ways seemed odd, nay, eccentric, beyond comprehension. To me, he just made a lot of sense.
But I am led to believe that in the “real” world, the FBI and the U.S. Department of Justice are indeed formidably thorough and in their investigations, albeit that they quite like hunting down hackers with alleged Asperger’s. But anyway, I am glad they have at last booted down the doors of FIFA Towers and carted off everything inside in carrier bags. Or somebody has.
I am not a football fanatic. But I do enjoy some aspects of “the Beautiful Game”. I wasn’t always a “Prawn Sandwich” merchant. As a kid I used to sit with the obligatory Bovril on the bare, windswept and sparsely attended terraces of my local Lancastrian town’s team, where “the Beautiful Game” was something we could only imagine (we had a winger once, with an afro-perm, and we called him “Mushy Head” – as in mushy peas, I think. If you aren’t northern you won’t understand that) and sometimes make the much more glamorous (and at times dangerous) terraces of Old Trafford – back in the days of the Bay City Rollers, tartan scarves and serious hooliganism. I do remember a police horse being simply lifted off its feet and knocked over in a crush as bricks flew.
I digress. I loathe FIFA with a passion. It does do some good work at grass-roots level, but the price is institutionalised and deeply ingrained corruption which skims off the top the way a clever drug dealer or pimp does. I believe that its corruption is endemic, systematic and gross. I believe it involves “actual” corruption in the usual forms – kickbacks and bribes etc etc. And also in the more subtle and intellectual sense of a culture which denies, covers up, permits and implicitly sanctions that behaviour out of self-interest and internal political advantage. See: Sepp Blatter.
I remember I once opened a wheelie bin in summer when the bins had not been collected for a while. There was a bad smell and I saw maggots. I quickly shut it. I didn’t know how many maggots there would be (a lot, it turned out) but I knew the whole thing had to be emptied out and disinfected. I should imagine the agents of S.H.I.E.L.D who raided FIFA’s offices in Zürich experienced a similar smell of corruption when they gained entry. You don’t know at first exactly how much there is, and how many maggots are crawling about, but you know it’s bad: very, very bad.
And that’s what FIFA has become, a maggot, parasite organisation, feasting on the world’s love affair (or addiction) to the game.
Why does this make me so angry? One reason is I hate self-serving, nakedly selfish, posing, arrogant, thick-skinned sociopaths like Blatter and the greedy corrupt bastards whom he shields. I see the damage they do, these bastards, I see decent people struggling to get by when he and their ilk bloat themselves on self-appointed prestige and gravy train benefits, like engorged ticks sucking on the life blood of some decent, hardworking labourer.
Next: a World Cup in Qatar? What the actual f**k is that about? Air conditioned Stadia ignore things like…training. Or fans. Or fans who like beer… I shall also ask: how many workers have died building these stadia in the lovely, cuddly, Human Rights friendly Kingdom that is Qatar? About one a day, I’m told, but it’s regarded as irrelevant. Other bids rejected because of corruption – I have no doubt at all. I understand Russia has “lost” all computer records of its bid. Oh. That’s a bit odd…
Next, I hate corruption because it corrupts. Let me try to explain this very briefly. There is a perfectly valid and well thought through economic theory to the effect that societies with endemic corruption have much lower rates of economic success and in general are much more backward (and yes I know and you know exactly whom I am talking about) than those where corruption is the exception rather than the rule. If you stop and think about it, it is rather rational. The driving force of Britain’s international success was trade and finance (these paid for the war bit) and behind that was the maxim “an Englishman’s word is his bond”. The law simply followed and enforced the concept. That allowed British trade to flourish, credit to be given, business to take place across the globe. In brief, the philosophical legacy of 2,000 years of Judeo-Christian philosophy included a sense of objective right and wrong which allowed European civilisation to prosper and grow and which, unfortunately, much of the world does not share. The results of that are for much of the world stagnation, violence, graft, cruelty and general wickedness. We see that all over the world. We see it in the hellish pit that is the present Middle East. We see it in many places.
And finally, I seem to remember Blatter, amongst other matters, lauding China for having invented football. The stupid bastard. Only a card-carrying sociopath could come up with that one. And which point I would quite simply have had the ghastly little Austrian shit given a proper introduction to historical reality by being hung, drawn and quartered and his head stuck on a spike on Tower Bridge, as would have happened in days gone by.
We invented this game. We may not be very good at it, but we gave this game to the world, we developed it, we wrote the rules. We played it in the right spirit. And why is the Premier League the most popular in the world? Because it is the most honest, and its teams have the most integrity.
I support a boycott of FIFA. No – I support divorce from FIFA. We own this game. FIFA can go stuff itself. It is time for a change. I hope the power of FIFA is smashed, broken. It is like Sauron: dangerous, mad, brilliant at what it does but utterly evil. I hope today is the first day of the end of FIFA. We need to reclaim the game.
It is an evil, corrupt, nasty organisation. It is time to finish off the beast. Speaking of which, I hear Tony Blair has resigned as Middle East peace envoy. Well done, Tony – you did a fantastic job!