AND… We’re back!!!! My sincerest apologies to my fellow writers, and of course my Commander-in-Chief Ruthless. But my deepest apology goes to you; the readers! I have deprived you of sports awesome, and I am truly sorry. Assuming Ruthless does not execute me I promise to be more prompt and consistent in my posting. However, first a quick word on a specific social situation in my home state… for those here for sports, simply skip the next paragraph.
I have lived and grown up in Missouri for most of my life. I feel it necessary for at least a brief remark on the situation in Ferguson, Missouri (just outside of St. Louis). I will leave the much more in-depth analysis and commentary for my fellow writers and other individuals much more intelligent than myself. I will simply say this: A man once shared his dream with an entire nation. While some small steps may have been made, and the man’s dream is now shared with every school child in America (we even celebrate a national holiday for the man) we are still very distant from realizing that dream. My thoughts and sympathies go out to all the people around the world who suffer from the sort of militaristic treatment seen in Ferguson, MO. Oppression is a horrific and terrifying thing especially in the “land of the free.” But as a nation remember this; our nation is also “home of the brave,” and brave people, like the man who shared that dream long ago, can absolutely change the world.
OK… and now, speaking of the world, on to “the world’s game,” (Known as Futbol around the world and Soccer here in the USA). The World Cup, one of the biggest sporting events in the entire world, wrapped up earlier this summer. This is supposed to be a showcase of “the beautiful game,” but the true problem is that it masks the overwhelming troubles of the game. It is probably no secret to people in the USA that there is inherent cheating at sports. Maybe it is widespread, or maybe it’s only a select few jackasses that want to win WAY more than they give a shit about their integrity. It goes without saying though that the bigger the sport, and the poorer the places it is played in, the far more likely corruption can take place. The organization known as FIFA is the governing body for the sport of soccer (futbol) for the entire world. The are stationed in Europe, but yet investigations like this one are becoming far more common:
Hell, even the organization’s most coveted showpiece, The FIFA World Cup, was under hot water due to scandal:
So what is the point of all this? Well, let me fill you in… it is rampant and drastically changes the product fans receive watching the games. Sure there has not been any ties to the massive clubs of the world; Barcelona, Real Madrid, Manchester United, Chelsea, Liverpool, Bayern Munich, or Paris St-Germain. But these clubs scout players from lower leagues, and as one of the above articles suggests: That is the problem point. Referees at lower levels of professional soccer are akin to those umpires in the minor leagues of baseball. They do not get payed much, and have horrific travel schedules that frequently keep them far away from their families. Many players get paid very little for their international work (which in turn can cost them paychecks they would be collecting by trainning with their club team. ALL it takes is a persuasive peron, with plenty of cash (often times an amount close to what a player or ref could make in half a year), and a player or ref interested in making money. The overall goal of these payoffs, somehow to create better odds when games are bet on so the man who handed cash can totally clean up as a local bookie (or from a local bookie).
This kind of action has been frequent throughout soccer, but the problem is no one has ever truly eyed the all-powerful government body FIFA. Well that is all changing with the recent determination to host the 2022 FIFA World Cup in the country of Qatar. I realize that is a long way off, but it is truly better for us as a group that does like honest sporting competition to address it now. The dirty politics makes the stuff we see here is the USA between politicians seem almost tame… almost. There is so much to touch on, and it will ultimately lead to another of my famous Radical predicions. For this issue I Radically predict you’ll want to read Part II of this story next week because right now… Words Don’t Do It Justice.