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fifa, women, welcome back

I got a request to say something about the mess that is FIFA, and realized, with the Women's World Cup coming very soon, I should re-open this blog.

I hate to start on a negative note, but there are many things my posts in the upcoming month or so will not be. I'm about to say a few words about FIFA, but mostly, I'll just offer some links, because I don't have much to add. Also, I will be following the Women's World Cup and posting about it, but I can't claim to have much specialized knowledge about the women's game. Like most American soccer fans (heck, most Americans, period), I pay close attention to the U.S. team, especially during major competitions. I don't often watch women's league play ... as I've noted elsewhere, there is such a glut of soccer available nowadays that I can't watch it all, the closest NWSL team to me is more than 600 miles away in Portland, and usually, an NWSL match will be fairly low on the ladder of which matches to watch on any given day. For instance, here is what I can watch today:

Two MLS matches, a Serie A match, an U-20 Men's World Cup match, the final match in the current Mexican season, a Brazilian league match, and a match in the Toulon tournament.

If I want to watch the NWSL match between Sky Blue and Houston, I can do so on YouTube. But it's not going to be my top priority.

Still, I do watch the Women's World Cup, if not with the fanaticism of the men's version. I think the women's game deserves more attention, and I've been remiss in not posting about past WWC. (The first, and so far only, time I wrote about soccer for publication was a series of pieces for the Bay Guardian about the beginning of the WUSA, the short-lived women's league that sprouted after the 1999 WWC.)

As for FIFA ... it is a corrupt organization. It has been corrupt for a long time (I'm tempted to say "forever" but I don't feel like looking it up ... I'm reminded of the Bernie Mac routine where he asks a convict how long he's been in jail. "Ever" is the reply. Bernie notes that you know it's a long time if you take the "for" off).

Here's a story that reflects how FIFA and its leader, Sepp Blatter, works. After winning re-election in 2011 as FIFA president, in the face of accusations of corruption regarding the awarding of the 2018 and 2022 World Cups to Russia and Qatar, Blatter promised to move forward with necessary reforms. His choice for the man to lead such reform? "The Ivy League's favorite war criminal", Henry Kissinger.

As Dave Zirin has said, "The idea of being shocked about bribery and racketeering at FIFA is like being shocked about jumping into a pool and finding yourself wet."

Here are some links to some interesting recent pieces on FIFA.

The Enron of Sports: FIFA’s Upheaval, from Corruption Arrests to Rising Death Toll in Qatar

Down Goes FIFA! Down Goes FIFA! (Dave Zirin)

The Other FIFA Scandal: Slave Labor (Meredith Clark)

Team USA’s Sydney Leroux says playing the World Cup on artificial turf is like running on cement (Marissa Payne)

I Hate FIFA More Than You Do, a poem (Jennifer Doyle)