Thursday, May 28, 2015

Let's Take Our Balls and Go Home

I think the time has come for the United States to get out of the international sports arena.  The arrests this week of top ranking soccer officials both in FIFA--the sport's global governing body--and CONCACAF--which oversees soccer here in North America--shows there is no legitimacy to the international competitions anymore.  So let's just sit out a few World Cups and Olympics until the rest of the world decides to clean up its act.

Anyone surprised by the FIFA arrests is either profoundly stupid--or is a FIFA executive (which is redundant, I guess).  The bribing of those responsible for deciding where to play World Cups and which corporations get to be "exclusive partners and sponsors" of said World Cups was an open secret for at least 25 years.  What is the only reason that people were arrested now?  Some of the bribery and plotting took place on US soil--that's why.  And because soccer really isn't that big a deal over here, our government doesn't live in fear of FIFA reprisals for decades to come.  Team USA is going to have a bunch of phantom calls go against it in World Cup qualifiying?  Big deal, NFL OTA's started last week, man--that's all I care about.

And the International Olympic Committee is no better.  We have seen executives of that body sent to prisons around the world for taking bribes as well.  And how much do you think everybody at the IOC made off the books by giving Vladimir Putin his Winter Olympics in Sochi--that somehow ended up costing FIVE TIMES as much to build all the venues and infrastructure than first estimated.
Personally, I wouldn't miss any of the international "World Championships" in all of the sports.  The NHL can put on the Canada Cup every four years like it used to determine the best hockey country in the world.  The NBA can invite champions from other country's leagues over to take on its champ to determine the best team on the planet.  And all four of the sports networks can televise Ice Capades to give everyone their figure skating fix--all without the nagging fear that the judges have already fixed the results.

Perhaps if the US drops out of the international sports arena, our companies that provide the billions of dollars fueling the greed at places like FIFA and the IOC will step back as well.  You could argue that the destruction of the Olympic "amateur ideal" came after Peter Ueberroth made a boatload of money for everybody at the 1984 Summer Games in Los Angeles by sponsoring everything under the sun.  A new "business model" was born--allowing those running the organizations to line their pockets.  Then maybe countries wouldn't have to change their laws to allow the sale of alcoholic beverages at sporting events--not because Brazilians knew that Germans and Brits would be coming thirsty to the World Cup--but rather because Budweiser is the "Official Beer" of the World Cup and FIFA made it a condition of getting the tournament that it would be served in all stadiums.  And how lucrative would it be to work for the IOC if NBC wasn't forking over a billion dollars by itself to put the Olympics on 15 networks for two weeks every four years in order to promote the 12th version of SVU?

One nice thing about the corruption of international sports is that it makes our American sports controversies look rather pale in comparison.  Nobody is going to arrest Tom Brady for deflating footballs.  And 12-hundred people in Qatar aren't going to die because Ryan Braun took steroids.

No comments:

Post a Comment