Tag Archive: soccer

May 27 2015

DOJ Soccer Corruption Arrests. Why Not the Bankers?

On Wednesday in the early morning hours in Zurich, Switzerland, at a five star hotel, there were six phone calls made by the concierge to six rooms telling the occupants: “Sir,” the concierge said in English, “I’m just calling you to say that we’re going to need you to come to your door and open it for us or we’re going to have to kick it in.” How polite.

The hotel, which overlooks Lake Zurich, provided an unlikely setting for the apprehension of six global soccer executives who were arrested on corruption charges and now face extradition to the United States. The operation took less than two hours and was strikingly peaceful – no handcuffs, no guns drawn. It also involved an unusual use of a bedsheet.

Raids in the United States are typically led by armed SWAT team members wearing bulletproof vests and helmets, but the Swiss took a more subtle approach. Rather than storming into the executives’ rooms and hauling them out in their pajamas, the officers waited for the men to come to the door and then gave them a chance to get dressed and pack their bags.

The officers appeared to lead the officials out one by one, through several exits, including a side door, the hotel’s garage and, in one case, the main entrance.

Thus started the arrests of six global soccer executives on corruption charges. The indictments were brought by the US Justice Department stemming from an FBI and IRS investigation into the business practices of FIFA, the world governing body of the world’s most popular sport. soccer.

The Justice Department, F.B.I. and I.R.S. described soccer’s governing body in terms normally reserved for Mafia families and drug cartels, saying that top officials treated FIFA business decisions as chits to be traded for personal wealth. One soccer official took in more than $10 million in bribes, Attorney General Loretta E. Lynch said.

The schemes involving the fraud included the selection of South Africa as the host of the 2010 World Cup; the 2011 FIFA presidential elections; and several sports-marketing deals. [..]

The Department of Justice indictment names 14 people on charges including racketeering, wire fraud and money laundering conspiracy. In addition to senior soccer officials, the indictment also named sports-marketing executives from the United States and South America who are accused of paying more than $150 million in bribes and kickbacks in exchange for media deals associated with major soccer tournaments. [..]

The promise that the investigation would continue raised the specter of more arrests, but officials would not comment on whether they were investigating Sepp Blatter, the FIFA president and the man widely regarded as the most powerful person in sports. One federal law enforcement official said Mr. Blatter’s fate would “depend on where the investigation goes from here.” [..]

United States law gives the Justice Department wide authority to bring cases against foreign nationals living abroad, an authority that prosecutors have used repeatedly in international terrorism cases. Those cases can hinge on the slightest connection to the United States, like the use of an American bank or Internet service provider.

Switzerland’s treaty with the United States is unusual in that it gives Swiss authorities the power to refuse extradition for tax crimes, but on matters of general criminal law, the Swiss have agreed to turn people over for prosecution in American courts.

What Esquire’s Charlie Pierce said:

Here and overseas, the entire corporate universe is shot through with metastatic corruption and crime. It is an essential part of the business model almost everywhere, from Wall Street offices to the pitch at Wembley. FIFA’s corruption is more than an endemic phenomenon. FIFA was simply one corrupt enterprise working with and through hundreds of other corrupt enterprises. There are governments, and there are communications empires, and there are all manner of companies advertising their wares — the “corporate partners” of a claque of brigands. If you did business with the crooks of FIFA, you’re a crook, too. There’s no way to avoid it. All of them are guilty. All of them are responsible. All of them are complicit in the corruption in the spotlight today, and in the death of anonymous workers in Qatar whose names they don’t even know. The whole goddamn corporate universe is begging for a gigantice RICO indictment.

It seems the Justice Department is capable of investigating and obtaining indictments against officials of an organization whose business practices have been described as “byzantine and impenetrable,” why can’t the DOJ do the same for the bankers of JPMorgan Chase, HSBC, Citibank, Bank of America, et al? It apparently is not that hard, Loretta.

Oct 15 2014

Jock (a derogatory term)

1:  athletic supporter.

2:  an enthusiast or participant in a specified activity.

This week in Sports-

NFL’s Jacksonville Jaguars apologize for Ebola prank by mascot

(Reuters) – The National Football League’s Jacksonville Jaguars apologized on Monday after their mascot used the Ebola epidemic to taunt fans of the Pittsburgh Steelers.

The mascot, Jaxson DeVille, held up a handwritten sign to the crowd that read “TOWELS CARRY EBOLA” while carrying a yellow “Terrible Towel” in his right hand.

HS soccer players allegedly hurl Ebola taunts at West African opponent

NAZARETH, Pa. – A West African player on a Pennsylvania high school soccer team was allegedly taunted by opposing players with chants of “Ebola!” during a game last week.

The Allentown Morning Call newspaper reports it received two letters from fans who attended the game last Thursday and alleged that racist remarks were hurled by Northampton High School players at a black player for Nazareth High School.

Sierra Leone’s Soccer Team Struggles With Stigma Over Ebola Outbreak

YAOUNDÉ, Cameroon – Fans taunt them with chants of “Ebola.” Some opponents have hesitated to shake their hands or engage in the traditional swapping of jerseys. Humiliating medical screenings have become routine.

And in Cameroon, when the players on Sierra Leone’s exiled national soccer team checked into their hotel to prepare for an important match Saturday, some guests grew alarmed, and the police were called, a team spokesman said.



In Yaoundé, Sierra Leone’s players continue to face constant reminders of the virus: the daily temperature screenings, an isolated team hotel, hand sanitizer dispensers in the lobby and police officers stationed outside to shield the team from harassment.

Drone, banner force end to Euro soccer qualifier

BELGRADE, Serbia (AP) — A small drone dangling an Albanian banner and circling the soccer field touched off fighting between Serbian and Albanian players and fans Tuesday, forcing a European Championship qualifier to be called off.

English referee Martin Atkinson halted the match in the 41st minute when a Serbian player grabbed the banner and Albanian players tried to protect it. Several Serbian fans ran onto the field and clashed with Albanian players. The score was 0-0 at the time.

The Union of European Football Associations said the match was later abandoned because of a ”disturbance” on the field.

New Jersey High School Football Team Loses Season Following Hazing, Sexual Assault Accusations

A disturbing report concerning Sayreville War Memorial High School of Sayreville, NJ surfaced today courtesy of NJ.com, uncovering details about hazing and sexual assault allegations against the school’s football team. In the wake of these accusations, the area superintendent announced this week that the remainder of the team’s season would be canceled, effective immediately.

The punishment seems fair given the weight of the allegations. NJ.com’s full report on these accusations offers a clearer picture of the alleged incidents. Initiated by older players on the team, the story details daily incidents of scare tactics and sexual assault bordering on rape.

In the darkness, a freshman football player would be pinned to the locker-room floor, his arms and feet held down by multiple upperclassmen. Then, the victim would be lifted to his feet while a finger was forced into his rectum. Sometimes, the same finger was then shoved into the freshman player’s mouth.



According to the parent, whose identity is being protected because the parent feared retribution against the family and the player, the routine was initiated when an upperclassman would enter the locker room and make a wolf call or howling noise.

“[For] 10 seconds, the lights would go off and they would grab a freshman and they would go on,” the parent said. “Right on the floor. … It was happening every day. They would get the freshmen.”

He added: “Kids would just sit around and witness [stuff] like this.”

In related news: DC NFL team considers name change to “Washington Jocks”

Stay tuned for further developments via Deadspin.

Jul 13 2010

The Week in Editorial Cartoons – The Real Costs of Fossil Fuels

Crossposted at Daily Kos

Matt Bors

Matt Bors, Comics.com (Idiot Box)

12

Jul 04 2010

The World Cup: A Brief, Gringo’s Guide to Futbol

Most of the planet has been tuned in to the World Cup since June 11, 2010, and will continue to watch and argue about it until the last whistle is blown on July 11. It’s expected that the audience for the final game will draw a tenth of the people on the planet. An audience of about 600 million people. It doesn’t matter very much to these people that their own countries didn’t qualify, or got eliminated. No. They’re watching, glued to the Tube, because that game is the World Game. And they love it. And they know great Futbol when they see it.

Unfortunately, in the US relatively few people care about futbol. Or soccer as most call it. They don’t reflect on the fact that the barefoot kids kicking a ball made of duct tape and rags in a vacant lot in Port au Prince or Kabul or in a favela in Rio are playing the same game that well scrubbed kids wearing uniforms and $100 shoes are trying to play in this country. So they don’t reflect on how democratic the game is. How anybody can play. And does. And how all you need is some ground and something to make a ball with. Shoes are optional. Goal posts are optional. Uniforms, optional. Only getting the ball into a goal counts.