Hey soccer, I thought we had a deal. Every four years we act like we care about the World Cup, and then you go away until next time.
In its corrupt world soccer conspiracy, FIFA violated that unwritten agreement by prematurely getting back in the news. FIFA President Sepp Blatter resigned, days after he was elected to a fifth term. His sixth term might be in prison. He is the (ex-Illinois governor) Rod Blagojevich of world soccer.
(I'm pretty sure my uncle Mac met Sepp Blatter once — after a long weekend in Las Vegas.)
Blatter, 79, was toppled by a widening corruption probe that went public last week with the arrest of 14 FIFA officials on bribery charges. They acted shocked at the allegations. It was the international equivalent of "There is no gambling at Bushwood Country Club."
The U.S. Justice Department had been contemplating charges against FIFA for 24 years. Indictments would have come earlier in the Obama administration had FIFA been Republican. In an instinctive attempt to get themselves out of trouble, FIFA board members immediately awarded the Justice Department the beer concession revenue from the 2018 World Cup.
The good news is that Americans might now pay attention to soccer if a corruption trial is involved. We do not like a sport where the score always seems to be 0-0. I scored more than that in junior high school. Well, the same.
Soccer represents the cultural divide between us and the rest of the world. Most soccer-obsessed countries offer days off for the FIFA-run World Cup, although they will shut down any time for pretty much anything that might involve heavy drinking and the possibility of a fistfight. Most soccer countries have riot-based economies, anyway.
If President Obama had his way, the U.S. would subjugate itself to corrupt world bodies like the UN and FIFA.
It is this international culture of corruption and nonaccountability that prompted the Clinton Foundation to do most of its fundraising overseas. Predictably, FIFA has been a big donor to the Clinton Foundation, which accounted for its contributions under "hush money." The foundation has accounts for both "slush" money and "hush" money.
Obama helped to pitch our most corrupt city, Chicago, to FIFA as a World Cup venue. He brought in Bill Clinton to make the case for bringing this soccer event to the USA. Bill had a proven track record of getting things done under the table and in hallways. But you could tell Clinton's heart was not in the effort involving soccer — a game where men cannot use their hands.
We really wouldn't want the World Cup. Americans have more interest in a Monster Truck show. It's more entertaining and smells better than an international soccer match.
The 2014 World Cup final pitted Germany against Argentina. The only folks more torn about whom to pull for than we Americans were ex-Nazis living in Argentina since World War II. Teams that have historically played well in the World Cup include Germany, Argentina, Uruguay, Brazil and Paraguay. For the Simon Wiesenthal Center, the World Cup was like a Nazi hunter's buffet.
During the same week as her team's win, German Chancellor Angela Merkel found out that Obama's CIA had been spying on her. Again. This came after she learned that the NSA had tapped her cellphone. Only our government could look at Angela Merkel and say, "Yeah, I'd tap that."
Clearly, the Iraqi team had no chance of winning its matches. When play heated up, Iraqi players took off the uniforms America provided for them at great cost, threw them on the ground for the other team to take, and ran.
Vladimir Putin scolded the U.S. for bringing charges against FIFA. He was accused of bribing a FIFA official with a Picasso portrait to secure the tournament for mother Russia. To be fair to Putin, it was not so much a bribe, as the artwork was simply an illustration of what that FIFA official's face would look like if Russia didn't get the 2018 World Cup, as promised.
You have to hand it to the accused FIFA officials. They brazenly pocketed an estimated $119 million in bribes and kickbacks. That's hard to do when you're not allowed to use your hands.
Ron Hart is an op-ed humorist, author and TV/radio commentator. Email him at Ron@RonaldHart.com.