FIFA corruption scandal erupts

Jared Rogers-Martin

Once during a youth soccer game, I slid in from behind for a tackle on a kid and broke his leg. I’d be lying if I said the dirty slide was entirely an accident, but my coach quickly pulled me off the field and reminded me that soccer is “just a freaking game.” Playing dirty and cheating had no place in the sport.
 
This sentiment needs to be brought to the leaders of Fédération Internationale de Football Association, the international governing body for soccer. Under the management of recently re-elected president Sepp Blatter, FIFA has had a history of backroom dealings and under-the-table payments.
 
The U.S. did its part in reprimanding the soccer organization when a federal court in New York unleashed an indictment naming 14 FIFA officials guilty on 47 counts of racketeering and bribery charges. The officials abused an amount of money ($150 million) that would make the Tony Soprano types puff up their chests in admiration. 
 
The U.S. is right to press legal charges on the corrupt actions of its national FIFA officials, but our country did it without the support of its peers. The charges also implicated several other FIFA officials over whom the U.S. lacks jurisdiction. Only coordination with other countries or partnership with the U.N. would have allowed this investigation to truly cut the head off the snake. 
 
FIFA cultivates support from 209 soccer organizations. A single country’s legal actions — no matter how economically prominent that country may be — do not represent a stand that will instigate change and remind FIFA that, if soccer wants to remain “just a game,” it needs to be devoid of cheating.