John Oliver vs. Sepp Blatter

The comedian’s take on FIFA, cathedrals, and why he loves the World Cup

“It’s very hard to justify how I can get so much joy from an organization that’s caused so much pain,” said John Oliver on his show last night. And no, he was not referring to Taco Bell. He was talking about FIFA. In a 13-minute segment, he read FIFA the riot act—underscoring corruption, the fallacy of its non-profit status, and the ways it bullies host nations, among other things. Oliver closes masterfully, arguing that, while soccer is a religion, it’s not just a religion.

“It’s an organized religion. And FIFA is its church. Just think about it: Its leader is infallible; it compels South American countries to spend money they don’t have building opulent cathedrals; and it may be ultimately responsible for the deaths of shocking numbers of people in the Middle East. But for millions of people around the world, like me, it is also the guardian of the only thing that gives their lives any meaning. And if that comparison does not make Americans love soccer, then frankly nothing will.”