Club over Country; or, Natty Dread

Well, I've narrowed down the pronunciations for Qatar. I can't decide between "catarrh" and "gutter."

Oh, and I see I have a brand-new all time least favorite team. Terrific.

So in the interview/rant I did with Brett and Derek's interview I touched briefly on one of the reasons I thought FIFA had two bids at once. Basically, there was no sensible reason for it...unless you wanted twice as many countries giving you bribes.

This is what makes the Russia/Qatar awards so unusually and astonishingly corrupt, even by FIFA standards. How will FIFA coerce and cajole other nations now, with no significant carrot to offer until 2026? Say what you want about the Mafia, but at least they have some institutional respect. You'd have thought FIFA would at least do what's good for FIFA, but that's clearly not the case anymore. I made the joke about them believing in the Mayan calendar, but these are guys trying to make the maximum amount of money in the short term. That's the precise opposite of "for the good of the game," and I look forward to charting how many members of ExCom retire in luxury in the next couple of years. I'm putting the over/under on "all of them." Except Geoff Thomas, poor guy. But including the two guys who were caught on tape by the Sunday Times.

I feel bad for the lower-echelon bureaucrats, who had been patiently waiting until it was their turn to be lionized beyond the dreams of avarice. Will no one think of the next generation of greedy swine? This is how empires usually fall, Sepp - not from outside challenges, but from internal palace revolts. Hope Qatar gave you enough to hire a food taster.

Sadly, few of us are ever going to be in a position to feed hemlock to Jack Warner. So what can we do, already?

There's one very easy solution. Club over country.

Actually, that's an extremely difficult solution. I don't think we're ready to give up international soccer. I don't think we can afford it, either. But unless we come up with an alternative, then that's the cost of doing business.

Based on the reactions of my last couple of posts, we're not even willing to give up international club soccer in this country, which means there's nothing we can do about FIFA now or ever. Yes, I know, "thou shalt not confuse Internet posts with reality." But that's the easiest battle, it's where FIFA affects American soccer the least, and where the price of battle would be the cheapest from the MLS and USSF point of view.

If you, the fan, aren't on board with that, well, that gives us very, very few options. I don't think the fan base is willing to do anything at all to risk the national team - not when even the silly little Confederations Cup had a huge impact on the American soccer fanbase, i.e., showing how big it actually was. Fighting back against FIFA could mean, at least, blowing up the Gold Cup and punting a Confederations Cup or two.

See, you're furrowing your brow, worried that this will somehow hurt the American game - and you're probably right. There's no way in hell we're willing to roll the dice and risk 2014 qualification.

So, what, if anything, can be done?

Maybe Interpol or the FBI does our work for us. That would be nice. But considering how long it took to bring Roman Polanski to justice, I have low hopes.

Maybe FIFA reforms itself from within. See, this is why I'm such a fantastic comedy blogger - I come up with jokes like that.

Maybe this holiday season, Sepp Blatter will be visited by three Christmas ghosts who will terrorize him into changing his ways. More than likely, he'll snottily tell them Christmas has no jurisdiction over football.

Any other course of action the USSF or MLS could take could be difficult and expensive. I still like my idea of MLS deciding to stop recognizing European contracts, like Colombia did back in the 50's, but I don't know if we could afford that stunt. I'm pretty sure MLS can't outbid the Manchesters yet. We're lucky they can outbid the Mansfields.

We could wait to see what England does. But I think we'll be disappointed.

On the surface, English clubs more than any would be willing to defy FIFA. They were around before FIFA, after all. They were around before most every national team. They've defied FIFA before, although back when FIFA wasn't the behemoth it is now. They've done without international soccer before, too, although unwillingly. There's no question that English clubs would survive a war with FIFA. The Premiership is the biggest league in the world, after all. They don't need the international game at oh, wait, Champions League, never mind. Cancel the revolution.

Hm, the Champions League. There's a thought. As far as the big CL teams are concerned, international soccer is only good for taking away their players and bringing them back injured. They'd love to get rid of the World Cup, or at least bring international soccer to its rightful, subordinate position. And they're the ones who pay the players. FIFA would lose a war with the Champions League clubs. Some players would stay loyal - Brazilian ones, certainly through 2014 - but, well, if Champions League players weren't motivated by money, they wouldn't be on Champions League teams.

So, if there's hope in defeating FIFA, the Champions League will lead us.

Hm? What's that? If there's one thing Champions League clubs hate more than international soccer, it's lower division soccer? And given the option, a permanent Euro Champions league would wipe out literally hundreds of small but storied and beloved clubs without a second thought?

Boy, it's almost as if there are no good guys in big-time soccer.

....so, Akron. That's a nice story.