2016 was a remarkable year. In football, it saw an entire generation of administrators dragged before the courts. Sorry: before a US court in Brooklyn. After all, the US is the final authority on matters of the law… The woman who set out to become the “Slayer of FIFA” (her own words), suddenly found herself in a bit of a bind when she met with Bill Clinton on a private jet to discuss grandchildren – absolutely not Bill’s wife’s issues with the DOJ, no.
And when the Trumpians demanded FBI boss Comey to go, he swiftly announced a further investigation into poor Hillary, which may well have broken the election camel’s back and put Trump into the White House. That’s US justice, folks. To each his own. But all of that for the world. Merry Christmas, then.
Once again, it was a year of Anglosaxonia and rampant Anglosaxonian hypocrisy. An astonished world was told that the awful Russians won the Trump election and hacked the DNC (even if former Ambassador and DNC top dog Murray said it was a disenchanted DNC staffer who couldn’t take the nastiness dished out at Sanders).
One man, McLaren, found that Russia was fundamentally and completely drug infested. A state that sponsored its athletes to go from one high to the other (with medals and all), and cheat the international sporting system altogether and incessantly.
Really? So what then with this: Lance Armstrong, USA; Ben Johnson, Canada; Floyd Landis, USA; Marion Jones, USA; Mark McGwire USA; Michelle Smith, Ireland; Nadzdeya Ostapchuck, Belarus; Barry Bonds, USA; Jose Canseco, USA; Tyson Gay, USA; Michael Vick, USA; Tyler Hamilton, USA – and the list goes on and on and on. And it is by no means a Russia List, folks. It is a very global but also a very US list – Merry Christmas, then.
The entire hypocrisy of drug cheating, apparently discovered by Anglo Saxon experts so sworn to purity, was put into a headline that says it all (funny enough, not invented here): Put down your sanctimonious, hypocritical wagging finger, America – your own Olympic team’s full of drug cheats just like Russia’s – The man who wrote the headline, and the article in MailOnline on August 8, 2016, was one Piers Morgan (who knows what cheating is all about after having published fake photographs of some war or other himself). Have a very Merry Christmas, then.
But let’s talk football: US football is crap at best and heads are rolling. But one head doesn’t and it perhaps should have rolled a long time ago, were it not for some sort of deals that US justice is pretty good at cooking up: Sunil Gulati, the boss of US Soccer, the deputy boss of FIFA, the facilitator of Infantino, the decades-long friend and associate of football’s biggest snitch, also the man who didn’t show at a Senate Subcommittee hearing, the master of the Men’s (and Women’s) National team: he stays in place while the German gets fired of course: Klinsmann lost one time too many, and while his employer who hired him stays put, good old Klinsi (who had lost the plot) bit the bullet. Oh, well. Merry Christmas, then.
Let’s talk some more football. Let’s talk The FA. The only football association that is called THE, and not simply English FA. Probably because it invented the game, and hasn’t done much in it since? Last time its team won a World Cup was 50 years ago, around the time when one of its own, one Stanley Rouse, supported Apartheid South Africa, whilst the rest of the civilised world did not (except the USA who also sucked up to the white boys and put Mandela – and of course former FIFA presidential candidate Tokyo Sexwale – on a list of terrorists). The FA is in permanent mayhem. Most recently, five of its leaders, three ex Chairmen and two ex Executives, came forward to decry that The FA was useless. The tiny bit of info they forgot to mention in their collective black swan’s song, is that they were in power pretty much all along during the most ludicrously mismanaged times of an equally ludicrously mismanaged FA. The one who stayed out of the outcry was Geoff Thompson. He knows why, I guess. Merry Christmas, then.
Let’s talk FIFA now. The inventors of evil. The one organisation that never understood that times had changed and that business was no longer run as it was in the 80s. They continued to do business as they did when the Dasslers of this world were still around, and when countries like Switzerland didn’t have legislation that recognised corruption. So, good old FIFA, under good old Blatter and the good old Grondonas and Havelanges and Teixeiras of this world, continued to mess about until FIFA found itself in a hole from which it was unable to dig itself out of, only to be lynched by the self-appointed FIFA Slayer. “Nobody ever told me to watch out for the Americans,”,Blatter said in a blog interview the other day. Clearly, he is losing his mind or memory or both. But fact is, he didn’t heed some people’s advice and fact is too that he didn’t change the culture of nepotism, favouritism and inherent corruption in world football. We know the rest, Merry Christmas then.
On FIFA again. A FIFA that is entirely new in terms of people – anyone in a senior position has either been fired or invited to get the hell out. And they did. In droves. Introduce the new king on an old throne and wonder. Wonder about his laughable management style, his serious nepotism by employing old cronies of UEFA. His incompetence for dealing with the media. His arrogance and plain stupidity in having promised millions to those who eventually voted him in (as they did), the FAs around the world, and now finding it hard to find the money he promised for distribution.
Well, here’s a solution to that last problem: how about firing those who actually cost FIFA $120 million a year only to control the organisation on behalf of the DOJ? How about kicking out the very people who were hired to prevent Public Relations and any sort of intelligent communication, and who charge a clean 1 million US$ for that, every month, it is said? How about realising that those very people are so on the wrong side of the train track that sees a massive train coming with Trump written all over it, while FIFA are working with the “PR” team that was publicly denounced as doing the dirty work for the Clinton Foundation? No conflict there? Clinton, Bill, was he not an Honorary Chair of some bid for a 2022 event? No nepotism there? Not at all. It is US made, hence it is good. “Teneo ergo sum” – a new Descartian motto for a better world? Merry Christmas, then, folks. A very merry Christmas.
James Dostoyevsky is a Washington-based observer of politics and sports. He can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org