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In a recent column, I wrote of the lack of rugby reporting in the nation's print media, specifically, my hometown newspaper, the NY Times. But, upon reading today's blaring headline: "AFTER INDICTING 14, U.S. VOWS TO END GRAFT IN SOCCER," maybe we protest too much.
It's not a question of high-ranking FIFA officials allegedly asking for and receiving monetary bribes from countries and companies, it’s how long these schemes lasted for decades. In addition, it's startling also how so many officials seemed to have been involved.
The narrative unfolding reveals an organization seemingly without oversight, and transparency. The newly appointed U.S. Attorney General, Loretta E. Lynch, now seeks to correct the upper echelon, soccer football culture of corruption.
The underlining motive was money, and plenty of it. The convicted American involved reputedly kept a luxury apartment in Manhattan for the exclusive enjoyment of his cats!
In America, the lack of money for rugby at the national level has been one of the recurring themes for the past forty-one years (USA Rugby was founded in 1974). A large chunk of the organization’s annual funding comes from the Dublin-based parent, World Rugby, which generates significant income from operating the Rugby World Cup every four-years. In 2011, the event’s T.V. coverage generated close to four billion views (N.B. This represents a cumulative watching total and not four billion, individual viewers). This ranks it as the third highest global broadcast total behind the FIFA Football World Cup (40 billion views) and the summer Olympics (20 billion views).
The World Rugby headquarters in Dublin are a modest affair, sharing space in an unpretentious building. It will be a long time into the future before a distinct and separate "Rugby House" welcomes the global community.
So, what's the moral, if any, from the start of the worldwide ugly coverage of FIFA’s history administering the "beautiful game?" Money corrupts, but you knew that.
Also, perhaps no press is preferable to bad, bad press.