The World Cup is happening right now if you haven’t noticed. Not sure how you could avoid the hardo soccer fans posting all about it, but if you did, good for you. But I’ll leave that aspect alone. Soccer fans are a sensitive bunch and I don’t want to ruffle their feathers any more than I’m already going to with this blog.
Not only is the FIFA World Cup happening currently, but it is happening in one of the most random places in the world. Qatar is a small country in the Middle East that is slightly smaller than Connecticut. Like most people, I didn’t know this place existed until it was announced a number of years ago that it’ll be the host for this year’s World Cup. Again, like almost everybody, I wondered how the heck this tiny country that can’t even compare to the most miserable state in the union, got the opportunity to host one of the world’s biggest sporting events.
Well, a brief Google search will tell you that it starts and ends with one word. Money. Not just any money, Qatar is sitting on a whole bunch of oil money. Which explains why FIFA, second only to the IOC in corruption in sports, chose the desert country. That’s fine. I get it. LIke it or not, money makes the world go round. If FIFA can live with the fact that thousands of “workers” (more like slaves) died building the stadiums these games will take place in, then that’s on them. I’m sure I could do some terrible stuff for enough money as well. And I’m sure every country that claims to care about human rights that is also sending their athletes to support this atrocity has come up with some kind of rationalization that makes them feel better about themselves. Whatever. I’m not going to watch a single moment of the thing so I don’t really care.
As a matter of fact, I planned to ignore the World Cup completely, other than maybe a few one liners to bother soccer fans on social media. But then I stumbled upon a story I just couldn’t ignore. And no, I’m not talking about the fact that Qatar said they won’t be serving any booze at the stadiums. Way to go. They made a boring sport even more boring. Shame on Budweiser for sponsoring this nonsense.
The story I’m talking about comes from Amjad Taha, an expert in strategic and political affairs and regional director of the British Center in Saudi Arabia. Now I have no idea what that means, but it makes him an expert of some kind. Anyway, according to Amjad, eight Ecuadorian players were bribed with $7.4 million to throw their first round game against the host country of Qatar.
I’ll start with the fact that Amjad Taha jumped the shark on this report. The game itself happens tomorrow at 11am EST and now those players can save a little face and not throw the game. I don’t want to tell Amjad how to do his job, but he should have waited until 11:05 EST to release the info so nobody could go back on it. But I digress.
The real issue here is obviously the fact that the host country is trying to impact the outcome of the games. If the Qataran government would do this for a meaningless pool play game, then who’s to say they wouldn’t do it for the finals of the whole tournament? Not only did the bribery to get the World Cup make it a tad suspect, now this scandal taints the whole thing. As far as any logical person is concerned, if one game is in question, then they all are.
Look, I’m not blaming the Ecuadorian players here. If you offered me that kind of money to lose a meaningless game in a tournament that I had no chance of winning, I’d take it every day of the week, and twice on Sunday. I have no idea what Ecuadorian soccer players get paid, but I’m sure $7 million is hard to walk away from.
And hell, I don’t even blame the Qataran officials that did it. FIFA awarded them the World Cup based on bribes, so why not keep bribing folks? Keep doing it until it stops working.
The blame falls right on the head of whoever is in charge of FIFA. The corruption has always been clear to all of us that don’t worship Cristiano Ronaldo and Leo Messi, but now it is right out in the open for even the most pretentious soccer snob. The tournament that they’ve been waiting for is now totally illegitimate. But they’ll keep watching and probably make negative comments about this blog, but they know I’m right. So enjoy your long, boring and now probably rigged games.