When power corrupts
On Target
June 5, 2015
When power corrupts

Whatever unfolds from the ongoing investigations into football’s world governing body, FIFA and its operations, there would be not only a shift in the balance of power in that international organization.

Seen as one of the most powerful sporting bodies globally, its integrity has been shattered by the countless allegations of wrongdoings.{{more}}

Fourteen people have been indicted by the US on charges of racketeering and money laundering. Seven were senior FIFA officials including two vice-presidents. They are awaiting extradition to the US.

The US Justice Department alleges that the 14 accepted bribes and kickbacks estimated at more than US $150 million. Of course there will be the pleading of innocence.

As things unfold, one can expect a spilling of the guts, as many would be unable to hold their bellies, but carry others down with them, as drowning seems their eventual demise.

Already news has broken about long-standing American official Chuck Blazer, a known whistle-blower on the inner works of FIFA. More revelations are inevitably forthcoming.

But no water can wash off those who have been accused, as they have been muddied and mired in the melee.

The jury is still out as to what is the real motive of the United States of America’s persistence in going for the jugular of FIFA’s top brass and its associates, including the Confederation of North, Central America, Caribbean Associations of Football (CONCACAF).

Also, the argument that the investigation is based on allegations of wrongdoing on US soil, presupposes that failure to win the bid for the 2022 World Cup is not the impetus for this nation’s visceral disdain towards CONCACAF and hence the FIFA.

Also, the fact that the US wired a CONCACAF member of the FIFA executive in London 2012, borders on entrapment and highlights the aggressiveness of this investigation.

It is stated that US law gives its courts broad powers to investigate crimes committed by foreigners on foreign soil, if money passes through US banks or other activity takes place there.

Conversely, the US does not allow its citizens to be charged under international law.

On a wider scale, some have looked at the other vocal protesting nations (UEFA) which under then big wig of CONCACAF Trinidadian Austin “Jack” Warner and FIFA president Sepp Blatter’s tenure, their white Eurocentric privilege has dwindled and been redistributed to nations of colour.

The sequence of events, however, suggests that these officials appeared to have walked into a trap set by the US and Swiss authorities.

As an individual, one cannot condone corruption. Notwithstanding, the rationalization to justify accepting of arms length transaction monies into the coffers of organizations that depend on grants, waiver of excise duties and governmental subsidies for their operational viability, is a humongous task.

In weighing up all the circumstances, the world will be looking at CONCACAF with tainted and tinted lens, as two successive presidents have been implicated in the scandal.

Part of the inquiry is focusing on several tournaments under CONCACAF jurisdiction, from the CONCACAF World Cup qualifiers, the Gold Cup, the Champions League, and the CONMEBOL/CONCACAF, and 2016 Centennial Copa America as the narrative of misdeed among the nations and marketing companies.

However, the Caribbean region too, over the years, has benefitted from those alleged back-room deals.

As poor nations, this side of the world still holds a singular vote at the table among the huger and more economically powerful, as that in aspect of the sport, there are no boundaries.

The fallout of the investigation will encompass all manner of football within the western hemisphere. The effects of this investigation will cast a shadow and repercussions over football, which can trickle down to the Caribbean Football Union (CFU) of which St Vincent and the Grenadines is also a member.

The viability of the US Major League Soccer (MLS) is also tied into the fray because of its connection to Traffic Sports USA, the US arm of the Brazilian marketing company, a major sponsor of football, whose executives are implicated.

So, as the pressures intensify, leverage for MLS teams to call up CFU players diminishes.

Also, the voting record of all member associations of this region will be illegally scrutinized and eventually less financial assistance to the CFU will severely impact these fledgling institutions.

But wrong is wrong and should not be condoned, as power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely.