Damn, Wednesday! Back at it again with the desperate attempts to appeal to millennial consumers. By time of writing, one of the presumed contenders for the Champions League has been eliminated, and so has Arsenal. Anyway, no time to dilly dally; we have important things to mock. Let’s dive into the dumpster.
The jig is way, way up
You’ve got to hand it to whichever corrupt bureaucrat is pulling the strings at FIFA these days. They’ve got stones. This morning, FIFA officials demanded the return of “tens of millions of dollars” seized by the U.S. Department of Justice in its prosecution of … FIFA officials.
Essentially, FIFA has now admitted that the voting process for the 2010 World Cup was rife with bribery and corruption, and is now asking for those bribes to be returned. FIFA described itself as a “victimized institution,” because if there is one thing that we learned from the most recent series of financial scandals, it’s that the corruption was clearly only limited to a few individuals and not in any way widespread or institutionalized.
FIFA’s claim is that Chuck Blazer, Jack Warner, and the other indicted former officials cheated the organization out of millions of dollars, and that those funds should be returned so that they can be diverted back into the sport. The argument here is that now that FIFA is brand new and definitely no longer corrupt at all, it can be trusted to take that dirty money back and do good with it. “When FIFA recovers this money, it will be directed back to its original purpose,” new FIFA president Gianni Infantino said in a statement. “To line the pockets of current FIFA officials, and not former ones who got caught,” he did not add.
Soccer fans are the worst of humanity: Part 119 of an infinite series
Before the second leg of yesterday’s quarterfinal against Atletico Madrid, some traveling PSV fans decided to enjoy their big day out in the Spanish capital by making complete asses of themselves. Some of the PSV “ultras” (i.e., some ultra drunk and ultra obnoxious dickheads) decided that the best way to pre-game was by humiliating mendicant women. Several PSV fans were captured on camera making a game of throwing coins at people begging, making them dance for money, and setting fire to bills in front of their faces. It was behavior revolting enough to give pause to a frat boy with a high powered attorney for a father.
No fanbase should be judged solely by the actions of its worst representatives. Using that standard, we’d want to shoot every set of soccer fans on the planet to the moon. But it’s one thing to get drunk and tip over the odd porta-potty, and quite another to dehumanize poor people of color for your own entertainment.
Man with rich uncle gets job on his own merit
In a transfer that mostly slipped under the radar, Chelsea U-18 winger Faiq Bolkiah agreed a deal to join champions-elect (I know, right?!) Leicester City in the summer. The 17-year-old lad was reported to be a “regular” for Chelsea’s academy side, so on the surface it just looks like another young prospect escaping a mid-table side for a team with title ambitions. In reality, though, Bolkiah only appeared once for the Chelsea youth team this season, and spent time on trial at QPR, Brentford, Watford, and Stoke City, without appearing to impress at any of them.
So how does a player deemed not good enough to sign (for free) at a second division relegation struggler end up at the best team in the country? Did Leicester City’s scouting network uncover yet another gem that the big clubs overlooked? Or did it have something to do with the fact that Bolkiah is the nephew of the Sultan of Brunei, one of the richest men on earth? I would never suggest anything so scandalous as rich people being given opportunities that their talent doesn’t merit, but I wouldn’t be surprised to see Leicester announce a totally unrelated and independently sourced sponsorship deal in the near future.
Man with high job security thinks job security is overrated
Luis Enrique was full of praise for once-great manager Arsene Wenger in advance of the two men’s sides facing off in the Champions League on Wednesday. He expressed admiration for how Wenger has been able to keep managing at the same top club for two decades, even though the second of those decades has been marked by chronic disappointment. But even as he hailed Wenger’s longevity, he went on to suggest that managers only be given six-month contracts.
According to Luis Enrique, “If you’re not absolutely happy, you go. And it would be cheaper for clubs, too.” I’m sure clubs would be quite happy to be able to sack failing managers halfway through a season without having to pay any of that pesky financial compensation, but I doubt managers themselves would be so keen. Not every manager is as fortunate enough to be managing the best team on the planet lead by the best strikeforce in history. Most managers need time to work, and having the job security of a contract at least allows them to concentrate on their jobs.
Luis Enrique, while a good coach, is safe in the knowledge that his number one priority is not pissing off Leo Messi. It’s deliciously ironic that Luis Enrique now has such a team-friendly stance on contracts, since he was almost fired just six months after taking the job.