Trouble And Alaba Discuss Arrests, Investigations, FIFA And The USA

Travels of trouble by Kole OmotoshoTO remember our joy and our delight that South Africa would host the 2010 football world cup is to smile at what wistfully called the Madiba Magic, the feeling that Nelson Mandela could fetch us South Africans and Africans whatever we wanted him to get for us. He was the most famous politician on earth.

He was the only prisoner who was consulted by his jailers for advice about how they should go forward about issues in the country. He was the only politician every other politician on earth wanted a selfie with.

So, our burst of joy was just ecstatic when Sepp Blatter’s fingers pulled the piece of paper through an invisible slime of ten million dollars bribe to show South Africa had won the now dubious honour of hosting the world football cup.

Australia kept taunting South Africa for the next two, three years with the afro-pessimistic jibe that no African country could stage such a global occasion without fouling up. In spite of everything South Africa staged an incredible successful world cup. South Africa continues to benefit from the ramifications of that infrastructural adventure.

Placed against the present accusations of corruption in award of opportunities to countries to host these world cup football games, what are we supposed to feel? We cannot disbelieve the efficacy of Madiba Magic no matter what they say from the United States of America.

We heard from the Palestanians and the Russians and the people of Qatar and we do not forget that FIFA has democratised the playing of football around the world.

The sudden move against Sepp Blatter emanates from the Palestinians wanting Israel to be expelled from world body responsible for football because of their oppression of the people of Palestine.

The Russians insist that the United States of America and the countries of the European Union want to strip Russia of the pride of hosting the world football cup.

Qatar is loud and clear that again the United States of America and the countries of the E.U. would rather they be awarded the opportunity to host the world cup rather than this desert state.

So, we are to believe that corruption has attended awards in the past, corrections should be made where it is possible. The laws of the United States of America must stop these corrupt practices.

But are the laws of the United States of America applicable to citizens of other countries of the world? Who appointed them judges over us? This is not to say that corruption is a good thing.

Anyone familiar with the laws that govern sports groups in Switzerland from weekend groups that walk or play football, small or big, would know that the laws of the country leave them severely alone. Right now, it is difficult to say whether the Swiss began their investigation after the Yankees had begun their arrests of FIFA officials.

Corruption distorts our sense of rightness and human expectation that a games process, obeying the rules of the game has in fact taken place. Corruption must be punished if it is to be stopped.

But who should do the punishing? It is not unusual for someone accused of some criminality to insist that they did not commit any offence even when the evidence of their corruption is placed in front of their eyes.

Like the story around the South African ten million US$ – the person who handled the money says that he did no wrong. The South African football authorities insist that the money was approved for the development of football in the diaspora.

That contribution for the development of football in the diaspora was taken from the money that South Africa would have to organise the games.

They knew that one individual was authorised to do the spending of the money for the development of the beautiful game in the diaspora.

It is of interest that nobody, including those who authorised the money and those who received it have said anything about how the money was used for the development of football in Haiti or in Brooklyn in New York.

There has been no umbrella organisation coming forward to say we are the diaspora organisation which was asked to spend the money for the development of football in areas of the world where the national budget has no space for football.

Both South Africa and the authority of the Caribbean football organisation insist that they did no wrong. We now come to the wonder of wrongs doing themselves, sins committing themselves, and corruption self-corrupting! This situation tells us that sins can be separated from those who sin them.

When the sinner says they did not sin and evidence is available that a sin was committed, the law enforcement authorities have the difficulty of who to hold responsible. Is it the sin itself that must be punished? How do you punish a sin for being sinned? Here the lawyers come to the rescue.

Who benefitted from the commitment of the sin? Was it the sin that benefitted from the commitment of the sin? Or was it the sinner who benefitted from the commitment of the sin? In terms of the ten million US$, there are two immediate benefactors from the transaction that made the corruption possible.

The first is South Africa where we were gratified and made proud to host a global event lasting four weeks involving thirty-two or so countries of the world.

And it was good to think that Mandela did it for us. The second benefactor is the man who was authorised to disburse the money in the Caribbean to the diaspora. So, both South Africa and the Caribbean man in charge of the money must be held responsible for the corruption.

At the same time, the opportunistic enforcer of its laws on others might be right but it too could be a benefactor from the crime.

Both the United States of America and Britain expressed interest in hosting the games in 2018 and 2022. So even if the process of these two awards are found to be corrupted, neither the United States nor Britain should be allowed to benefit from the punishment of the corruption.

A day after this piece was written the Trinidad & Tobago Sports Minister issued a statement saying that Jack Warner had deprived the country and the Caribbean of much needed football development money and so must face the crime of embezzlement of the US$10 million. Jack Warner is from Trinidad & Tobago.

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