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Mess is 'too good to be true'
by Paul Kennedy, June 2nd, 2011 1:44AM
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TAGS:  fifa, my view

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[FIFA IN CRISIS] The FIFA mess reminds me of aide Norman Wilson's reaction when Mayor Tommy Carcetti is told the truth of the "homeless killer" toward the end of Season 5 of the HBO classic series "The Wire." "I wish I was still at the newspaper," Wilson laughs, "so I could write on this mess. It's too f****** good."

I'm not the first person to call Jack Warnerthe Clay Davis of FIFA, but it is so true. After all the years and all the accusations, with one last chance to influence an election, Warner couldn't resist, it seems.

Could he really have his cronies lay out $1 million in piles of cash, $40,000 each, four stacks of $10,000 in $100 bills, and believe word wouldn't get out? But that's what was reported in the evidence furnished by the Chicago lawyer John Collins to FIFA:

"They did, however, instruct the officials not to discuss the money with anyone else and to not let anyone else see the money.”

But we're not done with Warner. Two days after he was suspended by the FIFA ethics committee and a day after he said FIFA President Sepp Blatter had to be stopped, the Trinidadian pretended nothing had happened.

"At our last meeting, we agreed as a union to support the incumbent Joseph Sepp Blatter in his quest to regain the presidency. I wish to assure you nothing has changed -- our mandate was set then and despite it all we must fulfill it."

So the $40,000 handed out to each of the 25 Caribbean members was simply a gift, like the money Marlo Stanfield gave to the corner boys to spend on school clothes, and not intended to influence the election in favor Mohamed bin Hammam. Or was Warner trying to fleece bin Hammam just like Clay Davis did Cardetti in his mayoral race against Mayor Clarence Royce.

Following Warner's suspension, the situation at Concacaf quickly deteriorated like the Baltimore street corners after Avon Barksdale was hauled off to prison.

Twice, interim Concacaf president Lisle Austin said Concacaf general secretary Chuck Blazer had been fired, and twice Blazer responded that he wasn't.

The Concacaf turf war wasn't waged with bullets. It was waged by e-mail.

And in this virtual war we can predict a winner. Back in the day, it was Blazer who had gone from Caribbean federation to federation, teaching them how to use laptops and how to use e-mail.

But just how weird everything had become in FIFA politics came not from Concacaf but from England and the FA's report to FIFA on attempted bribery charges against four FIFA executive committee members in relation to England's failed 2018 World Cup bid.

Advisers to Nicolas Leoz, the 83-year-old Paraguayan who runs Conmebol, the South American confederation, were interested in seeing what the FA could do for Leoz. "To go to England just to meet the Prince and go to the cup final is not reason enough," it was reported.

Leoz might think differently, the advisers suggested, if the FA Cup was renamed after him.

Having UEFA name the Champions League after me has as much a chance as someone running around Wembley one day with the Nicolas Leoz FA Cup.



0 comments
  1. Ernest Irelan
    commented on: June 2, 2011 at 8:45 a.m.
    even tho I hate to hear or read about the corruption in soccer,I appreciate the reporters that find this out an report it so that corrective action may be taken an all the rest of us see what is going on. I have seen inappropriate conduct from ground level (basic rec club) as to favors, under the table agreements between officers of clubs, coaches, directors, etc..so, no reason to not believe it does not happen at the higher levels....only on a much more grand stage an the stakes much higher...all the more reason we must have free press coverage of all bodies involved in our beloved sport.
  1. Soloman Mohamed
    commented on: June 2, 2011 at 9:40 a.m.
    Chicago lawyer . . . Sunil Gulati . . . Let's wait for the blueprint.
  1. Ron R
    commented on: June 2, 2011 at 11:03 a.m.
    To think that a country with little to no interest in soccer and less of an interest in human rights to be awarded a World Cup is way too obvious a case of corruption. The best first step to fix this is to admit Qatar had no business applying and rebid the 2022 WC.
  1. David Huff
    commented on: June 2, 2011 at 2:58 p.m.
    @Ron, concur 100%, what better way to demonstrate that FIFA is truly undertaking real reform by undoing its chief poster child for FIFA's corruption, WC2022?
  1. Margaret Manning
    commented on: June 2, 2011 at 3:32 p.m.
    As a big fan of The Wire, I'm trying to find a way to pursue the metaphor and end up with a result that is not insulting to soccer fans and players everywhere--but there isn't one. In The Wire, everyone was corrupt. I keep hoping that US Soccer will do something to take a stand against the widespread corruption in FIFA, just as I kept hoping that the citizens of Baltimore would catch a break from their politicans, unions, criminals . . . .

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