Trying to predict the aftermath of Tuesday’s FIFA arrests is like trying to gather up all the buckshot that’s been sprayed out of a cannon.
And, patching together my off-the-record sources, other writers’ analyses and news off the wire makes for a column that is far too speculative for my usual comfort level. But, this FIFA news is so remarkably different in terms of scope and possible effects, that I feel I need to tackle it in some way. So, speculative it shall be.
First off, if what you will read below sounds like I am defending the corruption and fraud alleged by the U.S. agents, I’m not. But, lately, I’ve been put in the un-fucking-enviable position of devil’s advocate, and it’s making me come off like a slimeball. A couple of weeks ago, I noted that the ravings of the Internet mob should not influence the punishments handed down to the idiots who, outside of BMO Field after a TFC game, launched a #FHRITP tirade on camera. Now, in questioning American motives (and timing) for these charges against FIFA officials, I’m going to look like a jerk again.
The arrests of six key FIFA officials, including CONCACAF President Jeffrey Webb, came just a couple of days before the 209 member associations were to vote in presidential elections. Sepp Blatter, the domo of the old guard, looked like a lock to win. But, the United States Soccer Federation was lobbying hard for underdog Prince Ali bin Hussein. Voila! Thanks to an extradition treaty with Switzerland, and under sweeping anti-fraud legislation that, ahem, “allows” the Americans to snatch their quarries even if they’re half a world away, and many in Blatter’s inner circle are out of the way.
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