One of the best worst-kept secrets in all of sports is now no longer a secret: cheaters do prosper and when you’re an insider within the Federation of International Football Associations, FIFA, you’ll go broke buying wheelbarrows in which to take your cut home.
But don’t take my word for it, form your own conclusion. Let me help.
You may not think so based on its dearth of popularity on these shores, but professional football (what we here in the Land of the Round Doorknobs call “soccer”) is not only the world’s most popular sport, in terms of attendance, fan clubs and those who have been known to wager a fiver on a Cup outcome, it’s a HUGE business at the national and international level.
When, in this case, you can be pocketing 150 million (with an “m”) dollars as the surcharge for your skullduggery, we are talking real money. And yeah, I recognize the presumption of innocence and am a huge fan-except maybe this time.
There’s a lot we don’t know yet (and probably even more we’re going to wish we didn’t) by the time this passion play is over, but my favorite moment of Zen, so far, is how FIFA reacted to the arrests of their own top officials.
I have the feeling that “pleased the investigation is being energetically pursued” doesn’t quite capture the actual essence of the true reaction of the folks who had silver bracelets on within the last 48 hours.
It takes balls (inflated ones, Messrs. Brady and Kraft) to play the beautiful game but only moments to destroy generations of good will in order to better satisfy an insatiable greed some of its leading lights seem to have.