What motivated the United States to pursue indictments of top FIFA officials on corruption charges? A quest for Truth, Justice, and the American Way? Or a chance to troll Russia?
If you’re Russian president Vladimir Putin, it’s the latter. As senior politicians around the world weighed in to hammer FIFA and demand a new era of transparency, the Roy Keane of international diplomacy had a different take: this was American imperialism. Here the Yankees go again, poking their noses into other countries’ business.
“This is another blatant attempt to extend [U.S.] jurisdiction to other states,” Putin said on Russian state television, referencing the pursuit of Edward Snowden and Julian Assange, the Wall Street Journal reported.
“I have no doubt that this is also a blatant attempt to prevent Mr Blatter from being re-elected to the post of FIFA president, which is a flagrant violation of the operating principles of international organizations,” added the man who invaded Ukraine last year.
“Even if we assume that one of them violated something, the U.S. certainly has nothing to do with it,” Putin said. “These officials aren’t U.S. citizens, and if some sort of activity occurred, it didn’t occur on the territory of the United States,” he added, with little regard for actual facts.
Vlad’s twitchy and with good reason, since Swiss officials are looking into how Russia won the 2018 World Cup. The last thing Russia needs is for Sepp Blatter to step down as FIFA president, which would potentially open the door for the tournament to be moved elsewhere – unlikely though that is with only three years to go and preparations underway in Russia.
Already, former UEFA president Lennart Johansson has called for Russia to be stripped of the tournament, calling for it to be moved to England instead. Meanwhile, we wait to see exactly what US law enforcement officials meant when they pledged that this week’s actions were just the beginning of their efforts. Looks like a geopolitical shitstorm might kick off.