IT would be hard to exaggerate the social, political and cultural importance of sport. And given soccer’s universal appeal, the already questionable image of the game has again been blackened by the astonishing events in Zurich where criminal investigations into suspected corruption have been opened by Swiss police concerning the allocation of the 2018 and 2022 Fifa World Cups to Russia and Qatar, respectively.
Making things even worse for Fifa, football’s governing body, FBI corruption charges are levelled against 14 individuals involving allegations of racketeering going back two decades.
It was heartening that six officials who were in Zurich for Fifa’s highly controversial presidential election were arrested in a dawn swoop at their luxury five-star hotel.
Most international sports, ranging from snooker to horse racing, cycling and cricket, have persistently been clouded with suspicions of one form of corruption or another.
This country has a role to play in Zurich where FAI boss John Delaney intends voting tomorrow against FIFA head Sepp Blatter’s bid to be elected president for a fifth time.
Yet, amid a barrage of calls to cancel the elections, Mr Delaney says they should go ahead. Coming from an official who described the corruption arrests as “something out of a mafia movie” that runs in the face of logic and demands a full and clear explanation.
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