THE BLOG

Red Card And A Penalty

29/05/2015 13:33 BST | Updated 28/05/2016 10:59 BST

Everyone who has ever had anything to do with football is currently in a Swiss jail awaiting a long stay at her majesty's pleasure, or whatever is the equivalent in the land of the cuckoo clock.

Those football executives who are not currently behind bars must either be expecting a 4am alarm call from men in dark jumpsuits, or are part of the cast for the forthcoming remake of The Great Escape.

It seems that the beautiful game is only looking good in the the rear view mirror of nostalgia.

The trouble with that idea is that in the past, football was probably just as crooked as it is today, they were just getting away with it more.

Information passed less freely, certain shenanigans were excused and, crucially, the Americans had not yet heard of the game, preferring their versions of rounders and rugby.

When it comes to investigating malfeasance, the Americans leave us standing. The banks, who have had more investigations than a hypochondriac's rectum, have got off almost completely scot-free from the attentions of the British regulator.

Our Financial Conduct Authority possesses no bite. It barely even has a bark. When the UK fines a bank for its mind boggling criminality, the banks rest easy as it will be like a mosquito bite on the hide of a rhinoceros. When the Americans fine banks, the earth moves, the building shakes and the executive floor needs to call down for a cleaner and some new pants.

Great Britain has been the home of football since British troglodytes invented it when kicking a skull at their enemies in the next cave. Since TV rights became so expensive, the game has been taken over by lucre and the era of British teams lead by British managers is well and truly over.

The governance of the sport is not our domain now either. International football is so rich that even the previously disinterested Americans are paying it heed and where money goes, crooks are sure to follow, and after them comes the Yankee law man.

They are bandying around phrases like racketeering, wire fraud and money laundering, which are the sort of activities that would get you a title and a seat in the House of Lords in this country, if you did it right and didn't attract too much attention. In America, they get you sent to a maximum security facility for the rest of your life and the lives of your children too.

When FIFA was roused from its elegant, first class, five star slumber, they might have been annoyed that it was the Swiss authorities that had woken them up. This would have been replaced by a shuddering, all consuming terror that it was the USA who had requested it.

The Americans might not know how to explain the offside rule, but they certainly know what to do with scheming, lying, cheating weasels.