True Colors: Free The Hubail Brothers

If FIFA has one utterly sacrosanct and inviolate rule - and one is about all there really seems to be - then it surely is the one concerning "governmental interference with footballing affairs".

Nations both large (Spain, Iraq) and small (Bangladesh, Somalia) have all run afoul recently of the "hands off" standards of Sepp Blatter and his 24 Thieves and all of them have been forced to abjectly capitulate and come crawling to Zurich to beg forgiveness forthwith.

Now of course the main reason for the rule is to keep FIFA money and procedures away from the prying eyes of prosecutors, judges and government snoops worldwide, although in practice the rule is usually used to block local governments who get sick and tired of the corrupt bastards who run the sport in their country and who - on the foolish assumption that what goes on inside their borders is their business - attempt to hold, say, fair and open elections or some such radical notion.

Now, however, an opportunity to prove that the policy exists for something more than the protection of the guilty has suddenly emerged and, from the viewpoint of the two guys running for President of FIFA, it couldn't have come at a worse time.

And both Blatter and Bin Hammam are finding themselves on the hot seat.

You've undoubtedly seen reports on the Rose Revolution movement in Bahrain, where the Shia majority is attempting to wrest at least a little of the money and power away from the greedy royal family whose chubby sons clutter the roads with exotic sports cars they can't operate very well while squiring expensive European whores to lavish casinos.

It seems that among the protesters - a reported 28 of whom have been shot dead by the government - have been a number of Bahraini footballers, a fact which became apparent when the secret police appeared at a practice over the weekend and hauled brothers A'ala and Mohamed Hubail off in a van.

Some reports indicate that they have been "arrested" while others say that they're simply "under investigation".

However that may be, one thing has been made clear: operating under orders from the government, the brothers have been expelled from the national team.

Mohamed, a 29 year old defensive middie shown above getting up close and personal with Australias' Brett Holman in a 2010 Qualifier, has appeared 52 times for the country while striker A'ala, 28, has been capped 68 times.

Mohamed apparently did in fact take part in a march, although A'ala, who was a paramedic before becoming a professional footballer, served only as a nurse at an aid station helping to treat civilians injured by government thugs.

If ever there was a Put Up or Shut Up moment for FIFA, this is it. The facts are clear and uncontested: the government ordered these guys off both the national team and their professional clubs because of political activity.

Which, according to the rules, they simply may not do.

The truly ironic part of this is that under normal circumstances this stinking pile of hypocrisy would have landed squarely and solely in Sepp Blatters' lap. As the President of FIFA he is the man responsible for enforcing the rules.

But in this case, as you have surely noticed by now, the is going on in Bahrain, a Middle Eastern country which is a member of the Asian Football Confederation, whose President is a fellow named Bin Hammam.

In other words, there's absolutely no room for either of them to dodge responsibility here. They're in it up to their eyeballs, particularly Bin Hammam, who just last week wrote on his blog:

"We need to create an environment where individuals are not reluctant to stand up for what they believe in."

Except, apparently, when there's a FIFA election coming up.

At the moment, there is no reliable information available on the two Hubail brothers or on two other Bahraini footballers who have also been expelled from the sport but have not yet been publicly named by the BFF.

As of this writing, neither FIFA as an organization or either of the candidates has made any comment. To be charitable, perhaps they're both frantically working "behind the scenes" to get these guys reinstated.

But that's not the way to bet.