Confucius say, 'Big sum of money on top of table, big corruption under table.' He didn't say this of course, but he may well have had he been around in the early years of the 21st century. There are billions of corporate dollars sloshing around the so called 'beautiful game', so it should surprise nobody that FIFA, the governing body of the game is mired in systemic corruption. We see it in every facet of our globalised corporate world; banking, arms sales, corporate manoeuvrings and political lobbying. Why should we expect globalised sport to be any different? Justin Cartwright, writing in the London Evening Standard, a highly manipulative free newspaper owned by a Russian oligarchic family, makes some superficially useful points, but rather fails to nail the beast. But then, how could he when he gets paid by the very system that he seeks to expose? There is a distinct whiff of hypocrisy about much of the commentary surrounding FIFA and Cartwright I'm afraid has, inadvertently perhaps, added to it. Did I say whiff of hypocrisy? I should have said 'stench'.


That there is systemic corruption in and around FIFA is not in dispute. Only an avaricious power hungry buffoon like Blatter might seek to differ. What is in contention here is what precisely is the root cause of this corruption. Is it, as Cartwright contends, a few oligarchs and wealthy owners with their endless piles of cash, or is it something a tad more fundamental? Cartwright might ask himself why every major industry on the planet is knee deep in corruption. Backhanders and favours are the norm in every sphere of globalised capitalism. Money laundering and tax evasion are the norm for every corporation. Even the really giant ones in the advanced capitalist countries are eventually outed despite their army of clever accountants and lawyers.

They are all at it because that is how you survive under capitalism. If you don't play that game you will go under. You will be swallowed up by your competitors. And there is virtually no effective democratic control to hold you back. Whichever political party gets elected, the corporates seem to get their way. As in finance and industry, so it is in the sporting and entertainment industries. Corruption, deception and evasion are in the DNA of the capitalist system and globalised sport is very much part of that system. But Cartwright dare not call it as it is. He would be out of a job tomorrow.

And so we come to that stench of hypocrisy. UEFA has been critical of FIFA over the years. Admittedly it has been mealy mouthed in that criticism, but nevertheless it has been critical. But it too has been caught up in the web of deceit and corruption. Its president and his son have allowed themselves to become far too close to the Qatari's. Little wonder they were quick to support the Qatari World Cup bid. Of course, there are not many individuals or governments who can resist the persuasive powers of the Qatari mega bucks these days. London itself is increasingly falling under the Qatari web as institution after institution fall prey to their seemingly unlimited buying power.

And furthermore, since when has UEFA been a champion of grass roots football. No, their record is one of enrichment for the really big clubs and to hell with the rest. How long can it be before national leagues finally succumb to the corporate concept of a fully-fledged European League with no promotion or relegation built in? Just the big boys battling it out year after year and the smaller clubs left to wither on the vine? It will be the perfect corporate stich-up which will suit the likes of Sky TV, Coca Cola and McDonald's just fine.

Furthermore, UEFA has been fully complicit in the big European clubs scouring the planet for talented young footballers and luring them to Europe with the promise of riches unlimited. This is a continuation of European colonialism, pure and simple. Little wonder that many developing countries vote for Blatter who they see, rightly or wrongly, as a champion of the underdog. No, UEFA are not in any position to take the moral high-ground against FIFA's corporate corruption. They are very much part of the rotten system.

But the hypocrisy goes much wider than UEFA. The British media have, for their own dubious ends, decided to jump on the moralistic bandwagon. Yes, the very same British media that is up to its neck in criminality and political lobbying. Has Mr Cartwright forgotten already how Murdoch's News International tried and succeeded in infiltrating its people into the highest echelons of government? One or two minions are doing time for their criminality but the real culprits are still sipping their cocktails on their yachts .

Mr Cartwright might like to ask himself how his boss, the Lebedev's, got their billions in the first place. How they, like all the Russian and East European oligarchs, managed to get their grubby hands on the once collective wealth of the former Soviet Union? Are we to look to these sorts of people for a way out of FIFA corruption? I think not. And any pretence that the Lebedev's might have put up concerning their independent credentials was quickly blown away by their open and crass support for another five years of Tory austerity at the expense of Britain's working classes. No, we will take no lecturing about morality from any of these shady Russian oligarchs.

And then there is the British Government. They too seek to take the moral high ground against FIFA, but it should come as no surprise to any thinking person that the mechanism by which the alleged bribes changed hands was none other than the string of British off-shore tax havens. The fact that these tax havens have not been closed down by any of our recent British governments is testimony to the fact that all British governments, the Tory media and the bulk of British corporations are all complicit in the tax avoidance and tax evasion culture.

And finally, we turn to the English Football Association itself. Its rush to condemn the corruption at FIFA has only one transparent motive; they want the World Cup for themselves and they are still smarting at their humiliation at the recent bidding process. The English Football Association's is a mirror image of FIFA in many ways. Its 'fit and proper' test for prospective club owners is a joke. Any oligarch or sheik will get the nod. The FA's grassroots development programme is a joke. Nearly all of the money flowing into English football ends up in the Premiership. With wages for the top players at around a quarter of a million pounds a week the FA has shown itself to be not fit for purpose as a governing body. No sportsperson on the planet should be receiving that sort of remuneration, particularly when the community facilities of the sport are so dire. And, like FIFA, the English FA has shown itself to be comfortably in bed with the global corporates. Any notion of integrity and independence is just a distant memory.

So in summary, the moral hurricane of outrage at FIFA's intrigues that is currently sweeping the media outlets is nothing but manoeuvring for position and power. Getting rid of Blatter will make not the slightest difference. Meet the new boss, just like the old boss. In any event, the corporates will still be running the show. And transparency and accountability is simply not on their agenda. They wouldn't even understand the concepts. As for UEFA, the Football Association, the British government and the British media; they are entirely complicit in this corporate circus. Hypocrites all.


If Cartwright really wants to look at an alternative model for the so called beautiful game then FC United of Manchester is as good a place as any to start. But on this radically inspiring alternative JC has nothing to say.

End JPK Copyright 30/5/15

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Last Updated ( Monday, 21 May 2018 06:35 )