Washington Wages War on International Soccer

Source:  Global Research

May 28, 2015

Is there more to what’s going on than meets the eye? In January 2011, FIFA president Sepp Blatter and Russia's Sports Minister Vitaly MutkoSepp Blatter and Russian Sports minister Vitaly Mulko (photo) signed a declaration on Russia’s official status as 2018 World Cup host nation.

At the time, Vladimir Putin said Russia would “use the experience…already gained in preparing for the Sochi Olympics in 2014.”

Blatter expressed “certain(ty) that the World Cup (would) be held at the highest level and…turn into a truly magnificent event.”

After Russia won bid, influential US senators wrote Blatter 

Russia won out over Britain, the Netherlands, Spain and Portugal. It plans to host the event in 13 cities. It intends making it first-class world event.

In April, 13 US influential senators wrote Blatter “strongly encourag(ing)” him to replace Russia with another host country,” saying:

US concerned over bolstering the prestige of Putin’s government

“Allowing Russia to host the FIFA World Cup inappropriately bolsters the prestige of the Putin regime at a time when it should be condemned and provides economic relief at a time when much of the international community is imposing economic sanctions.”

FIFA spokeswoman Delia Fischer responded, saying:

“History has shown so far that boycotting sport events or a policy of isolation or confrontation are not the most effective ways to solve problems.”

The World Cup “can achieve positive change in the world, but football cannot be seen as a solution for all issues, particularly those related to world politics.”

Blatter said “the World Cup in Russia will be able to stabilize all the situation in this region of Europe that is suffering now.”

A thinly veiled scheme against Russia?

Vladimir PutinIs charging 14 current and former FIFA officials with various criminal offenses a thinly veiled scheme to continue bashing and trying to isolate Russia?

Everything done so far failed. Master chess player Putin outmatches his US counterpart. However charges against current and former FIFA officials are resolved, expect Russia to remain 2018 World Cup nation likely matching its successful 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics.

Palestinian Football Association want Israel suspended

Another issue is Israel. Palestinian officials want it suspended from FIFA participation because of systematically violating Palestinian footballer rights – including harassment, travel restrictions, lawless arrests, and other racist apartheid actions.

Last March, the Palestinian Football Federation (PFA) submitted a motion to FIFA calling for Israel’s suspension until it complies with the following conditions:

  • letting football participants and all equipment related to the sport  move freely in, out and within Palestine;
  • no longer obstruct or otherwise prevent the building and maintenance of Palestinian football facilities;
  • banning football clubs in illegal Israeli settlements from Israeli Football Federation (IFA) competitions;
  • requiring IFA to take firm action to eliminate racist, apartheid practices within its own leagues; and
  • requiring IFA to recognize the PFA as the sole governing body for football within Palestine.

These conditions address longstanding grievances – so far without resolution. Palestinian officials say suspending Israel is needed to change things.

Washington targets FIFA

Instead of going after war criminals, CIA and Pentagon torturers, banker mega-crooks, other corporate thieves, corrupt politicians on the take, dirty cops, and other major US offenders demanding prosecution, Washington targeted the Zurich, Switzerland-based International Federation of Association Football (FIFA) outside its jurisdiction.

It’s pressuring Swiss authorities to extradite FIFA officials to America to face criminal corruption charges.

The timing of the indictments and arrests wasn’t coincidental – two days before FIFA’s annual general meeting with its officials in one place at a luxury Zurich hotel.

Blatter is up for reelection. So far he’s not charged. According to US officials, he’s not cleared yet. Whether what’s ongoing affects his reelection remains to be seen.

A 47-count indictment charges 14  individuals with racketeering, bribery and more

A 47-count indictment charges 14  individuals with racketeering, bribery, wire fraud and money laundering among other offenses as part of “a 24-year scheme to enrich themselves through the corruption of international soccer,” according to the Justice Department.

Attorney General Loretta Lynch said “(t)he indictment spans at least two generations of soccer officials who, as alleged, have abused their positions of trust to acquire millions of dollars in bribes and kickbacks.”

“Today’s action makes clear that this Department of Justice intends to end any such corrupt practices, to root out misconduct, and to bring wrongdoers to justice – and we look forward to continuing to work with other countries in this effort.”

America and Switzerland have an extradition treaty. A Swiss judge will decide what happens next. Even if extradition is ordered, individuals affected can appeal.

So-called “dual criminality” is a requirement many countries observe – namely that crimes alleged by one nation are recognized as such by the other before extradition can be considered.

The legal process in this case is expected to take months to work its way through Switzerland’s judicial process – maybe much longer if appeals are made.

Some earlier cases dragged on for years. If extradition is rejected, Washington would likely issue so-called “red notices” to authorities in other countries – meaning individuals charged would risk arrest and extradition to America if they travel abroad.

According to international law experts, Switzerland is one of the world’s toughest places to win extradition cases – especially on tax related charges.

Some high-profile individuals successfully contested US extradition requests – notably film director Roman Polanski.

Russia’s Foreign Ministry responded sharply to Washington’s indictments – saying it extended its legal authority improperly “far beyond its borders.”

Illegal extraterritorial use of US law

“Without going into the details of the accusations…this is clearly another case of illegal extraterritorial use of US law.”

“We hope that this will not in any way be used to cast a shadow on the international football organization as a whole and its decisions.”

“Once again we are calling on Washington to stop attempts to make justice far beyond its borders using its legal norms and to follow the generally accepted international legal procedures.”

Putin called FIFA indictments “an obvious attempt to spread (US) jurisdiction to other states (and) prevent Mr. Blatter’s reelection…which is a gross violation of the principle of functioning international organizations.”

“(T)he United States has no relation to” FIFA affairs. The individuals charged “are not US citizens, and if some event has taken place, it happened not on US soil…”

FIFA and Olympic competition are more about profiteering, exploitation and corruption than sport. Yet little is done to change things.

So why now? Why target FIFA – especially at this time? Draw your own conclusions.

Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago. He can be reached at lendmanstephen@sbcglobal.net

His new book as editor and contributor is titled “Flashpoint in Ukraine: US Drive for Hegemony Risks WW III.”


Visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com. 

Listen to cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network. 

It airs three times weekly: live on Sundays at 1PM Central time plus two prerecorded archived programs.

Source:  Washington Wages War on International Soccer  Global Research

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3 thoughts on “Washington Wages War on International Soccer

  1. All this came just days after FIFA said they would kick out ISRAEL from the coming games for the inhumane, cynical never ending gross violations of human rights and racist treatment of the Palestinian Team by ISRAEL.

    • The US’ actions against corrupted FIFA officials smells of red herring for several reasons one of which is FIFA’s declaration to take action against Israel’s apartheid actions against Palestinian soccer players. The world knows that Israel is America’s Zionist enforcer of US foreign policy in what is called the Middle East. So the world rightly wonders whether the actions of the US is related to the declaration of FIFA, albeit a corrupted organization, against Zionist Israel, America’s loyal enforcer in the Middle East. Perhaps it is really true, “you never see smoke without fire.”

      Secondly, when did the US government learn about FIFA’s corruption? A week ago, a month ago or decades ago? Is the US’ action against corrupted FIFA officials an act of principle or an act of vengeance to punish the soccer organization for awarding Putin’s Russia the supreme games of international soccer in 2018?

      Third, the world (including small countries)has known about FIFA’s corruption for decades now so how did it slip by the global cop for so long?

      Finally, the world needs and is waiting for a US insider who is sick and tired of US hypocrisy to tell it what exactly are the US government’s motives to be using FIFA as a geopolitical football?

      Until then, the world is rightly outraged against FIFA’s corruption and demands actions against it though perhaps the world is wondering whether the sudden war against FIFA by the US government is another failure of US intelligence given the age old corruption of FIFA. Hopefully, time will tell!

      ” Don’t be a stock on the shelf” Pimper’s Paradise by Bob Marley

  2. There are three conclusions that seem to be both pertinent and rational to draw as it relates to the emerging US-FIFA saga.
    First, it is hard, actually very hard to appreciate the legal basis for the US government to bring corruption charges to FIFA officials given that (a) FIFA is an international soccer organization that as far as I am aware operates outside of US jurisprudence, (b) the alleged corrupted practices of the FIFA officials did not occur within the US (c) the alleged corruption charges against the FIFA officials can be legally settled in the respected jurisdictions where they allegedly took place.

    Further it should be stated that the US government has no moral, political or even legal authority to go after corrupted FIFA officials since successive US governments have overthrown and aided corrupted governments and dictatorships like Pinochet in Chile, Somoza in Nicaragua, Strossner in Uruguay,Mobutu in Zaire and so many others across the globe. In all of these cases where these criminal governments have raped, killed and stolen hundreds of billions of dollars from their peoples usually with the full knowledge of the US, there was NEVER any request for their extradiction and certainly NO charges were ever brought against those criminal thugs in the service of US imperialism.

    Additionally, the US DOJ has had several opportunities to indict and perhaps even convict several banksters on Wall Street and other financial streets in other nations including Switzerland where the alleged corrupted FIFA officials were arrested and yet the DOJ did absolutely nothing against these banksters. These banksters crashed the US and global economies causing the loss of tens of millions of jobs, bankruptcies, massive foreclosures and myriad of other forms of sufferings of huge numbers of people yet the political cowards at the DOJ has not gone after these financial criminals.

    Consequently, it should be clear that for the US government to now act against corrupted officials of international soccer as if its a moral cop of the world is pure hypocrisy and points to ulterior motives which typically characterize US actions.

    A second reasonable conclusion that may strike any rational observer about the US actions against allegedly corrupted FIFA officials is that it appears that the US is furious with FIFA’s decision to award Putin’s Russia to be the site of the 2018 World Cup soccer games. In other words, it seems patently obvious that the US wanted to see FIFA punish Russia for pursuing domestic actions such as its crack down on dissidents and its anti-gay policy as well as Russia’s pursuit of an independent foreign policy in Syria, Iran and Ukraine. Apparently, the US government is peeved that FIFA awarded Putin’s Russia the 2018 World Cup and did not now to US pressure to act as another geopolitical tool to enforce US foreign policy.

    Another rational conclusion that emerges out of the ongoing US-FIFA saga is the current justifiable attempts of the Palestinian Football Federation to suspend the racist and Zionist Israeli Football Federation from FIFA because of the latter’s multiple violations of FIFA rules and protocols governing the game of international soccer. It appears that the US’ “extraterritorial actions” against corrupted FIFA officials is possibly a political ploy disguised as a reasonable legal actions against corruption in international soccer to deflect global attention and perhaps even FIFA’s ability to focus on taking legitimate action against America’s foreign policy enforcer in the so called Middle East.

    Finally and despite those foregoing points about America’s hypocrisy and and its over zealous actions to be the global cop against FIFA’s corrupted officials, I still firmly believe that the charges against these officials should be prosecuted to the fullest extent of law in all the nations in which these officials have engaged in acts of corruption to enrich themselves including the US should any such acts of corruption taken place there.

    In other words, a clear distinction should be made and seen to exist between US imperialism’s hypocrisy in international soccer as in the war on terror and other geopolitical issues and the legitimacy of corruption charges against FIFA officials. Clearly the two are not mutually exclusive and as such they should not be confused. The problem is that the US government has lost its credibility both morally and politically to be the lead prosecutor against corruption whether nationally within the US against banksters and CIA and Pentagon torturers as well as against corrupted FIFA officials who may have acted against its wishes to award the. 2018 World Cup games to one of Washington’s declared political enemy Vladimir Putin.

    As the US-FIFA saga unfolds, the US government’s real motives will become even clearer. Maybe US whistleblower with some insider information should step forward a tell the world the truth! Peace and love!

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