Corruption in football
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Power Corrupts, And Absolute Power Corrupts Absolutely

The beautiful game is no longer beautiful. It is tainted by corruption.

Power Corrupts, And Absolute Power Corrupts Absolutely

I want you to close your eyes.

Imagine you are a professional football player, at the very top of your game. You're at the World Cup. You've always dreamt of this. You walk through the tunnel leading towards the pitch. Around you, thousands of fans shout your name, cheer for you. Millions watch you on their televisions. You walk onto the pitch, and you're suddenly blinded by the sun. It takes a while for your eyes to adjust. The game kicks off. You chase after the ball. You score. You concede. You keep running.

Suddenly, you don't. You feel exhausted. You look at the clock, it's only 60 minutes in. You feel weak. You collapse.

To avoid such fates for football players around the world, FIFA has scheduled the Qatar 2022 World Cup to take place during November-December, rather than the traditional summer months of June-July. This has lead to a massive fan backlash, as a majority of the players participating come from top European clubs, which operate during an August-May season. The timing of the World Cup, therefore, will send shockwaves echoing throughout the sporting world, disrupting seasons of elite teams, competing at the very top levels of the sport; in the Premier League, in La Liga, Serie A, Bundesliga, and the highly coveted Champions League.

Even with absolutely zero knowledge of the sport, everyone can see why this is a bad idea. So why is FIFA going through with it?

"Power corrupts, and absolute power corrupts absolutely." ~Senator Finch, Batman v Superman

FIFA essentially possesses a monopoly over football, holding the entire world by their throats. As the de facto, self-appointed governing body of the sport, nobody can question their authority.

At what point do we consider power to be too much?

Judge, jury, executioner.

In 2010, FIFA took legal matters into its own hands, taking over the legal affairs in the host country of South Africa under their own jurisdiction, by creating special "courts of law." These measures were taken not due to the goodwill of the heart or to assist South Africa in eliminating crime, they were purely motivated by the greed to attract more tourists to the World cup by making South Africa seem safer than it actually was.

What is justice? Does an apparent corporate money-grabbing scheme fall under the category of justice? It is said that Lady Justice is impartial, fair, and swift, as represented by her symbolic possession of the blindfold, the scales, and the sword. While FIFA was certainly swift in its dealings, it was by no means impartial or fair.

Judge, jury, executioner.

In 2014, FIFA pressured the Brazilian government to overturn a nationwide ban on alcohol in stadiums as a condition to allow them to host the World Cup. Brazil, the undisputed king of international football, with five World Cups to its name, bowed down to a tyrant. Rather than caring about the spirit of the game, the sportsmanship, the passion, and desire of hundreds of millions around the world, FIFA chose to prioritize the hundreds of millions they would gain from one of their key sponsors, Budweiser. The self-proclaimed nonprofit organization is willing to commit unethical acts, and disregard the safety of millions of match attending fans, in exchange for high profits.

Judge, jury, executioner.

2018. FIFA is on track to host the World Cup in Qatar in 2022. This tournament has been controversial since its inception, with FIFA accused of and charged with accepting bribes to allow Qatar to host, and threatening anyone who exposes them with death. A country which employs slave labor, and provides inhumane working conditions for workers. A country which has no history in the sport, and will waste billions of dollars building infrastructure that will never be used again. A country which will disrupt the rhythm of the entire sport.

Today, FIFA is drowning in scandals. And the situation doesn't seem to be getting better. Recently, FIFA removed all mentions of the word "corruption" from its Code of Ethics, thereby officially not recognizing it as a crime. Throughout history, the inability to take criticism or attempts to mask one's crimes using wordplay has been a defining trait of dictatorships or tyrants. FIFA's reign creates allusions to notorious regimes akin to Nazi Germany, who thrived by restricting any speech or motions against their government, assuming unobstructed control over their empire. FIFA has absolute power, and it has corrupted them absolutely.

The beautiful game is no longer beautiful. It is tainted by corruption. It remains shrouded in the shadows of human rights violations, of slavery, and of bribery. Soccer is much more than merely a sport. It is a reflection of the cultures and peoples of the world. It is a manifestation of the shifting mentalities over time, as the world becomes more embroiled in chaos every passing year. Whether it be the heinous acts against immigrants under President Trump, or the mass violence on the basis of one's religious beliefs in the Middle East, or the brutal executions in the Philippines under President Duterte, the sport continues to be a mirror in which humanity can look into, and think carefully about the direction we are heading in.

Soccer is much more than just a sport. It is a symbol. For some, it's a symbol of independence. For others, it's a way of life. It is embroiled deep into the cultural, social, and political roots of society. It is a microcosm for the deteriorating condition of society under questionable leadership. Whether it be FIFA or certain world leaders, one thing is clear – recent years have been a warning. A warning, to fix the situation before things get completely out of control.

"Everybody knows it's coming apart
Take one last look at this Sacred Heart
Before it blows
Everybody knows" ~Leonard Cohen

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This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.
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