Short version, because this a soccer scandal: FIFA is the Grand Poobah of soccer. They just indicted a remarkable bunch of higher-ups in it for endemic corruption, bribery, and general chicanery over World Cup bids. This is genuinely a Big Deal for pretty much the rest of the world, not least because FIFA’s been smelling for decades now.
But now to the important bit: which is to say, its effect on American domestic politics. I’d like to make it clear that I was joking this morning on Twitter by speculating on FIFA’s relationship with the Clinton Foundation; I didn’t really expect to have that confirmed. Silly, silly me. I should have known better, really. Reality is always going to win these things:
Involvement with the embattled body extends beyond the foundation to Bill Clinton himself. The former president was an honorary chairman of the bid committee put together to promote the United States as a possible host nation for the 2018 or 2022 World Cup.
When the U.S. lost the 2022 bid to Qatar, Clinton was rumored to be so upset he shattered a mirror.
But apparently Qatar tried to make it up to him.
Fifty to one hundred thousand from FIFA to the Clinton Foundation directly; two hundred and fifty to five hundred thousand from the Qatar 2022 World Cup committee; and one to five million from Qatar itself. Yeah, I think that we’re all in the wrong business, too. And all of this over soccer, too. A game than most Americans care about only when one of our teams has made it past the first stage*…
Moe Lane (crosspost)
PS: And then there is Qatar’s human rights record. The phrase ‘they don’t really have many’ comes to mind…
*Yes, yes, yes: I understand that many people like soccer, and that they are upset that it has a poor reputation in our culture. But that does not detract from my point that this is still an odd scandal to be splashed over the Clintons. Or at least an unexpected one.