THE BLOG

FIFA's Corruption Is Much More Than a Football Issue

28/05/2015 12:54 BST | Updated 27/05/2016 10:59 BST

It seems no matter what heinous development comes out of FIFA HQ, the organisation simply will not budge on their laughable decisions to award the next two World Cups to Russia and Qatar. It emerged in recent days that several FIFA personnel were being investigated by the FBI over allegations of money laundering and corruption - no surprises there. It's no secret that Russia and Qatar have been very unpopular World Cup hosts, and it's nothing to do with football snobbery. The most contentious issues have been the decision to move to the latter to an unconventional winter slot and far more importantly the abuses to human life by both nations.

Let's start with the good points about this arrangement, as this won't take too long. FIFA claims that holding such a renowned event in a country less interested in football will spread word of football and help develop Russia's, Qatar's and the surrounding nations' footballing abilities. And to be fair, that is a good point. In fact, if that was the only, genuine reason and there weren't so many faults with the decisions, the world would be far more accepting of it.

Unfortunately, the bid was also full of holes, such as the ignorance of Qatar's scorching hot summers that would make playing football almost impossible. As a result, Blatter proposed a Winter World Cup which has angered football fans across the globe. Not only is his idea a breach of decades of tradition, it would also be a monumental disruption to the major domestic leagues around the world, something many a football fan tend to value more. There are too, no stadia fit for the World Cup currently in Qatar, meaning up to eight venues would have to be constructed within the next 9 years. In fact, there is so much work to do that the Qatar 2022 team have been accused of working 1,200 people to death in preparation for the tournament with a further 1,800 expected to die. How can we allow people to die in the name of exploiting an untapped region for corporate profit? How can we as a planet be okay with this? And it's not like Russia should be excused for their military brutality front in the East, with Putin's actions becoming an ever-growing cause of unsettlement in the West.

On top of these logistical issues, there are huge social issues too. Male homosexuality is illegal in Qatar meaning any gay man making the trip would be at risk of imprisonment and five years in prison. We all too, know of When Sepp Blatter was rightly criticised for allowing the event to be held there he simply told LGBT fans to keep a low profile. And the recent movement towards anti-LGBT policy in Russia is well documented too. Not only is the decision to hold the tournament in these nations, a painful inconvenience it is also dangerous to certain cross-sections of football fans. We shouldn't be vicariously condoning these intolerant views by rewarding these countries with one of the world's finest competitions.

It really does beg the question; what were the voters thinking? How on earth, given all of this information could these brutal, scorching, politically homophobic nations be considered the ideal options? The answer is money, finance talks in football and it's been shown by FIFA time and time again. Not only have they opted to support tournaments in these countries despite the severity of the plethora of issues they have, they refuse to re-vote even when their money laundering corrupt ways have been exposed.

It simply makes no sense to isolate the vast majority of football fans and domestic leagues to appease two countries not even remotely interested in football. Well, it doesn't until you remember what a corrupt, selfish, money-grabbing scheme Sepp Blatter currently employs at FIFA HQ. Rumours spread and are likely to be proven that Russia have effectively bought their bid's victory for the 2018 FIFA World Cup and given how feeble Qatar's claim to the tournament is, you can safely assume money played a part here.

The only way to combat these corrupt officials is to take the prestige away from the World Cup by means of an international boycott - countries like England, Germany, Brazil and Spain need to combine with Japan, Ivory Coast, the United States and others and withdraw from both tournaments. We cannot rely on Coca-Cola, Adidas or McDonalds to duck out because money talks louder than morality. When will we learn to put social justice above tacid entertainment? I love football as much as anyone else but there needs to be a bigger sense of outrage - football fans have to unite and protect the beautiful game, not just quietly criticise and hope FIFA has a change of heart, because they won't until it's profitable. Here's a sobering thought - knowing all of the flaws with both Russia 2018 and Qatar 2022, these nations and these corporations will probably still back the whims of FIFA, led by embezzling capitalist tyrants, who ironically, are bankrupt of empathy for humanity, and the only way to change that is boycott the World Cup and protect the once 'beautiful game'.