What Price for Thee, Argentina?

Judging by the reaction to yesterday's post, many of you are not of a mind to be "like 'Forget you'" yet just because the pretty girl at the party, who flirted with you a little, ended up leaving in the front seat of the rich kids' Maserati.

Fine with me. It's a free country.

Let me just say one more time though; if everyone knew the process was as corrupt as the day is long - and we all did - then why is it surprising that the two bidders with the most money and the fewest scruples walked away with the prize?

Furthermore, the process has been utterly corrupt since at least 1988, and probably farther back than that. The history of World Cup venue bidding is nothing but one long, ugly tale of wheeling and dealing and bribery and collusion. (I have a spare copy of Foul if anyone wants it.)

So how in the world did anyone convince himself that this time it would be different?

And it's not just message board warriors; I just read a good piece by the newly syndicated and totally pissed off Michael Lewis, one of my fave soccer writers, and he's in high dudgeon over the whole thing. He thinks we wuz robbed and there was double dealing, double crossing and skulduggery involved in the voting.

Well Gloryoski Michael. What was your first clue?

Now, the Wall Street Journal is reporting that Qatar slipped Argentina a cool $80 million so they can pay off their enormous pile of debts. AFA Prsident Julio Grondona - a longtime rock-ribbed Blatter supporter - VEHEMENTLY DENIES IT claiming that the AFA is doing just fine, awash in cash and had no need at all for money.

What's that you say? A bald faced lie? Well of course it is.

But then again, this is the same man who remarked in a TV interview that "I don't believe a Jew can ever be a referee at (the World Cup) level because it's hard work and, you know, Jews don't like hard work".

When asked about it later he replied that some of his best freinds are Jews. No, I am not making that up.

Since this was in the middle of FIFA's "Say No To Racism" campaign, Blatter was asked to comment:

"Senor Grondona....plays a great role in South America and we are friends forever. Together we will defend football and transparency in FIFA".

As if that made any sense. Then again, everybody got the message.

These are the people we're dealing with here. Did someone honestly believe that Grondona gave a crap about how wonderfully the US bid book answered every FIFA requirement?

More to the point, did someone think Sunil Gulati had a spare 80 mil laying around he could use to match Qatars' offer? What else was he supposed to do? Lecture the Argies on how many tickets he could have sold in Detroit?

Do you think that would have turned them around?

Maybe not so much though as the statement yesterday from Vladimir Putin, who raced to Zurich to personally thank Sepp Blatter for the win, and then expressed his outrage over the BBC broadcast:

"Digging up incriminating material and making corruption allegations is quite an unsavoury thing to do, you know. All the more so since all the allegations made here were groundless, to the best of my knowledge, and they had been recognized as such previously. "

Now of course you and I know that the allegations were entirely accurate and no one has ever denied it. Old, yes. "Groundless"? Not so much.

But Putin is a world class liar, every bit as talented and shameless as Sepp Blatter on his best day. The two of them must get along famously.

Fortunately, I know that everyone is above taking any offense whatsoever at this kind of thing:

[i]DOHA, Qatar (AP) - A prominent Islamic scholar says he is overjoyed that Qatar defeated the United States to host the 2022 World Cup.

Sheik Youssef al-Qaradawi told worshipers....that he was "filled with joy"after FIFA selected Qatar on Thursday over the U.S. (The) Friday sermon was quoted in Qatar newspapers Saturday.

The cleric says Qatar humbled the United States which he claims seeks to dominate every aspect of world affairs."

Feeling better yet? Goodness knows I do.

And now there are reports that England is trying to organize the losing countries into some kind of cabal to challenge Blatters' Presidency.

But only if they can find another country to take the lead because they're afraid to.

Rule Brittania.

Because they know it's hopeless. For every Australia and USA and Spain there are ten Antiguas and Seychelles and Togos and Libyas who care about nothing besides the money they pocket from FIFAs' coffers.

Unless someone can convince Europe to split from FIFA - and they never will - then it's all just sour grapes.

Which is what happens when you try and play someone else's game. Blatter isn't a stupid man. He and Jack Warner and Julio Grondona and Chuck Blazer and all the rest make the rules, have the votes and do whatever they like and as long as Barbados' vote counts as much as Portugals' it's going to stay that way.

So there. I've done your Sunday wallowing for you.

Like I said yesterday, it seems to me that we'd all be better off to simply forget the whole thing, but if self-flagellation gets you off, be my guest.

We played a fools game and we lost. We were always going to lose. We knew the deck was stacked and we sat down and played anyway.

Who do we blame for that?