Spain Sues to Stop Qatar 2022

It seems that every passing day brings another clear piece of evidence that FIFA is a hopelessly dysfunctional organization which is wallowing in hip-deep sewage of it's own making.

Today's entry is the news that Spain's Liga de Futbol Profesional (LFP or simply La Liga), has filed a suit with the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) over the staging of the Qatar World Cup.

Specifically, they're claiming that the move to a Winter schedule - the solution reached by FIFA's schedulers to prevent players and tourists alike from dropping over dead in 140 degree heat like so many South Asian slave construction workers - will necessitate an eight week league shutdown which will cost them collectively around €65m.

You may recall that, a few months back, FIFA bribed UEFA with the promise of a $209 million cash payoff - excuse me, I mean "profit share" - in return for them agreeing to shut down so that FIFA can use their players for a couple of months in 2022.

(This on top of the huge 2026 rights giveaway - worth hundreds of millions more - to keep the broadcasters who had contracts for June 2022 from suing them as well. At some point one would think that the roughly 160 "taking" federations who support Sepp Blatter because he brings home the bacon would notice that keeping Qatar 2022 afloat is costing them a whole bunch of pork that a tournament in the US would have more than covered. If so, none of them are saying so out loud.)

La Liga is essentially saying that their cut of the UEFA bribe - damn, I mean agreement - won't cover their projected losses and that as a private entity they are not obligated to accept it.

Adding to the irony here is the fact that the President of Spain's FA, FIFA and UEFA VP Angel Maria Villar, voted for Qatar in an illegal vote-swap deal with the latter which even Sepp Blatter admits happened and that it was a violation of FIFA ethics rules.

(Of course it's widely believed that Qatar double crossed them and also vote swapped with Russia, but there's no honor among thieves)

Of  course, goading Villar may be playing a large part in this suit; as you may recall, earlier this year El Presidente tried  to stop La Liga from complying with a so-called Royal Decree (a "law" to you and I) requiring that Spain's first division pool their TV revenue rather than just see Barcelona and Real Madrid take 90% of it every year.

The LFP was more than willing to comply, but Villar blocked the arrangement because he wanted the Spanish federation (ie. him) to control the money instead of La Liga and, well, nobody trusts him with money.

Bottom line, whatever the primary motivation for the suit, the CAS is being asked to make a ruling on whether FIFA can in fact require them to shut down their businesses for two months so as not to interfere with their corruptly-arrived-at scheme to put a soccer tournament in a desert.

Comic Relief:

The Argentine FA has announced that they will be offering their own candidate to replace Sepp Blatter when and if FIFA ever gets around to holding an election:

 Diego Maradona.

Sadly, I'm not sure that the Argentine legend, who's had more snow up his nose than Lindsay Vonn and is widely thought to be - to put it bluntly - either stupid or crazy could be any worse than what we've got in there now.

Nonetheless, call him a long shot

Late Returns:

You'll doubtless recall that Sepp Blatter and FIFA originally suggested that an election which would allow the Swiss Miss to "lay down his mandate" could be held by August, which became six months, which became six to nine months, which became "no later than December".

Now, according to reports, Blatter is aiming for the Spring of 2016 because a December date "would interfere with the Club World Cup".

How it would do that exactly is yet to be explained.

Smoke Gets in Your Eyes Dept:

In all of FIFA there is only one individual with even a modicum of widely accepted integrity: the Head of the Independent Audit and Compliance Department, Domenico Scala.

He's basically in charge of overseeing FIFA's business practices.

Not surprisingly, like the rest of us he's tired of seeing Sepp Blatter playing word games about whether he's actually going to leave FIFA.

As he told the BBC, "The time for flirting with power through the media is finally over.”

Prison Update

In case you were wondering, all seven of the FIFA officials and associated grifters who were arrested by Swiss officials on June 2 are still in jail. 

Most have applied for bail. None have had it granted.

The hardest case is that of Uruguayan Eugenio Figueredo, the 83 year old President of CONMEBOL.

His family has asked for some kind of compassionate release based on his age and ill health but, as with the other arrestees, he'd almost certainly at least try to get back home where his government would make it next to impossible to get him back again. Extradition can be a tricky thing. Go on for years.

Furthermore, under Swiss law, detainees must remain incarcerated as long as extradition proceedings are under way.

Former Brazil FA Chief Jose Maria Marin - also 83 - is reportedly nearing a breakdown. A recent visitor found him sobbing in his cell, complaining that the CBF and all his friends have "abandoned" him.  Apparently he's also shocked that he's averaged only one visitor a week, as if Brazil was a short drive away.

Perhaps at least a few of them  are of a mind with his successor, Marco Polo Del Nero who provided one of the few moments of pure comedy in all of this when, in his Zurich hotel room, he heard that the Swiss were making arrests. Without pausing to pack his bag, he grabbed a cab to the airport and skipped back to Brazil where, coincidentally, they have no extradition treaty with the US.

As for CONCACAF President Jeff Webb who, at 50, is the youngest of the arrestees, his exact location remains unknown. The Swiss have confirmed however that he's fighting extradition and is receiving "no special priveleges". 

The Cayman News Service - a normally very reliable source - says that he is locked down for 23 hours a day and, as a spokesman for the Swiss Federal Office of Justice remarked, "he won't be allowed to get takeout deliveries from the hotel".

As bad as it might be though, it's probably better than what almost certainly awaits him in the US. While the process can take six months to a year, the Swiss virtually never turn down an extradition request.