The build up to the World Cup is dominating our screens – preview show here, predictions there – but the real entertainment is happening away from the excited clamour ahead of the tournament.
The head honcho of FIFA, Sepp Blatter, is coming in for some well-timed criticism following The Sunday Times’ revelations about the alleged bribery of FIFA officials in awarding the 2022 World Cup to Qatar.
Blatter initially tried to distance himself from the Qatar bid, perhaps happily allowing people to think that his FIFA Presidential candidate rival Michel Platini was the real wrongdoer here (Platini admitted to voting for Qatar to host the 2022 tournament), telling a Swiss TV station, “Of course it was a mistake”. The “of course” implying that everyone should know this fact is only more infuriating because of the fact that everyone did seem to acknowledge it; except FIFA that is. It’s okay, though because, according to Sepp, “We make a lot of mistakes in life”.
While that statement was over a month ago, The Sunday Times story has added more substance to the school of thought that suggests maybe, just maybe, FIFA is a huge bundle of corruption and Blatter is the physical embodiment of everything that is wrong with the organisation.
There is no need to worry however, as the man himself has decided to front up and face these allegations head on with his chest pushed out and a look of defiance in his eye. Wait, no. Apologies. Here he is dancing awkwardly alongside Brazilian TV’s Fernanda Lima at the FIFA Congress in Rio.
Painful viewing. If you somehow manage to un-cringe your face after watching that clip, how about some quotes from Blatter on what the future holds for FIFA. Maybe one without him in it, perhaps? Unfortunately not if he has anything to do with it.
Not content with muddying the waters of football’s governing body on this planet, Sepp wants to expand FIFA’s reach to a more universal scale; literally.
“We shall wonder if one day our game is played on another planet? Why not? Then we will not only have a World Cup, we will have interplanetary competitions. Why not?”
We may not have enough time to answer that question before FIFA have announced Mars as the replacement for Qatar once that particular idea falls through. Why not, indeed.
If all this FIFA and Sepp Blatter talk is getting too much, and you’re looking for some type of antidote, then fear not. Comedian John Oliver, formerly of The Daily Show fame, had a wonderfully funny yet focused rant in the direction of FIFA or, in his words, “a comically grotesque organisation”.
The clip below, which was featured on Oliver’s US based HBO show ‘Last Week Tonight’, runs through the many problems FIFA imposes on the host country of the World Cup, including the stadia, the laws the host country must change in order to appease FIFA’s sponsors as well as their own tax regimes. Oliver gives the ultimate summary of FIFA in its current state and everybody should watch it. (Video contains NSFW language)
In other non-FIFA related news, ESPN broadcasted a feature on electoral statistician Nate Silver who compiled a load of statistics and, based on said numbers, objectively predicted who will win the World Cup (CONTAINS SPOILERS). Surprise, surprise; Brazil will win the World Cup according to this man.
Finally for this week, another Nike ad that you may be seeing a lot of during the World Cup, if not an abridged version for brevity; The Last Game, featuring Ronaldo (both original and Cristiano), Neymar, Wayne Rooney, Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Franck Ribery, Tim Howard and David Luiz.
In this animated short, the Nike-donned stars battle it out with a bunch of excitement-free clones to reclaim football’s soul in the name of risk and flair. Great effort from Nike; one to rival Beats video from last week (which you can also see below).
Nike’s The Last Game:
Beats by Dre “The Game Before The Game: