Thursday, May 28, 2015

Perp walk

Quiz time, Blobophiles. This one comes courtesy of a former colleague, so I can't do what I usually do, which is claim credit for someone else's juicy wisecrack.

Q: Who is Sepp Blatter?

1. The president of FIFA, the ruling body of international soccer.

2. A particularly annoying Ferengi in an episode of "Star Trek."

3. Both.

The answer is 4, "a fugitive from justice," which is what the attorney general of the United States turned him into yesterday. Her name is Loretta Lynch, and she is Blatter's worst nightmare. She will brook none of his nonsense. Her palm is remarkably averse to grease. And she's coming for his ass.

It was Lynch who brought down all that long-delayed thunder on Blatter's little FIFA-dom yesterday, indicting 14 officials on charges of widespread corruption that goes back 20 years. Two of those indicted were vice-presidents; two were U.S. citizens.

The U.S. had the authority to do this because FIFA operates in the U.S, and is therefore subject to U.S. law.  Also some of the money used in its various schemes came from U.S. banks.

This was a breathtaking display of sheer will by Lynch, who went after FIFA mainly because no one else had the cherries to do so. The organization under Blatter's leadership has become a running joke, a cesspool of rampant corruption overseen by a Teflon Don whose very name, outside of the cloistered world of soccer, evokes derision and rampant outbreaks of eye-rolling.

But if Blatter remains untouchable -- he's about to get re-upped as president of FIFA in another in-name-only "election" -- his days finally may be numbered. Lynch made that abundantly clear yesterday when she said the crapstorm  she's unleashed isn't over yet. In fact, it's just begun.

You can interpret that any number of ways. But if I'm Blatter, I'm loading up on the lawyers. Clearly he's the big fish in this deal, and the arrests yesterday were just the first salvo in a well-planned effort to force him from power -- and, if all goes well, book him a nice long stay in the Graybar Hilton.

If it happens, every soccer fan in the world should celebrate (within reason, of course; no turning over cars and setting them on fire, you Brits). Because the sooner Blatter's gone, the sooner international soccer can have a ruling body worthy of the game it rules.

The game is great. It's the people who run it who shame it.

Get rid of 'em. Get rid of 'em all.

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