How Global Sporting Events Run On Bribes& Help Dictators

Soccer: it’s the sport the rest of the world calls “football”, despite how loud America calls otherwise. It’s also the global obsession that peaks every 4 years with a Football world cup. This year’s Cup is about to start in Russia. 2026 ‘s Cup is about to get awarded to the United States and Canada and Mexico, perhaps. And everyone is abuzz about which of the perennial contenders( minus Italy, minus the Netherlands) will win it all. That passion for the game means big crowds, big glory, and big money. But did you know it also made the world’s most brazen white collar criminal organization? And assists past and current autocrats keep their stranglehold on power?

On this week’s episode of The Cracked Podcast, Alex Schmidt is joined by Dr. Natalie Koch ( Maxwell School at Syracuse University) and by DeMorge Brown ( Harmontown, Channel 101) for a deep dive into how soccer’s governing body became a secret Swiss crime family without most fans noticing. They’ll find insanely bold corruption in the athletic everywhere from Qatar to Trump Tower. And you’ll discover how football, the Olympics, cycling, falconry, and more global athletics take our planet’s politics in a weirdly dark direction while also bringing joy to our planet’s people.

Footnotes :

Critical Geographies of Sport: Space, Power and Sport in Global Perspective ( edited by Dr. Natalie Koch )

FIFA Announces Russia, Qatar as World Cup Hosts for 2018, 2022( Full Presentation )

Soccer’s Culture of Corruption( New York Review Of Books )

Opinion: Did Russia Steal the Football world cup?( The New York Times )

FIFA releases report detailing alleged corruption in World Cup bids of Russia and Qatar( Los Angeles Times )

Fifa official took bribes to back Qatar’s 2022 World Cup bid, tribunal hears( The Guardian )

Plot to buy the World Cup: Huge email cache discloses secrets of Qatar’s shock victory( Times of London )

What happened to the Qatar World Cup’s cooling technology?( BBC News )

Revealed: Qatar’s Football world cup ‘slaves'( The Guardian )

Stadium bargains, corruption and bribery: the questions at the heart of Brazil’s Olympic and World Cup ‘miracle'( The Guardian )

How Uruguay broke Brazilian hearts in the 1950 Football world cup( BBC News )

Fifa corruption claims: South Africa ‘agreed $10 m deal'( BBC News )

FIFA Took Bribes Over Germany’s 2006 World Cup Bid, Report Says( TIME )

How The 2002 Football world cup Became The Most Controversial Tournament in Recent Memory( Vice Sports )

Ex-FIFA official had $6,000 -a-month Trump Tower apartment for unruly cats( The Washington Post )

The Economist explains: Vladimir Putin’s macho stunts

Chairman Mao Swims in the Yangtze( TIME 100 Photos )

“Gulf Nationalism and the Geopolitics of Constructing Falconry as a ‘Heritage Sport'” by Dr. Natalie Koch( Studies in Ethnicity and Nationalism )

Abu Dhabi Falcon Hospital( TripAdvisor )

Benito Mussolini skiing& sledding without a shirt on

World Cup stunning moments: Mussolini’s blackshirts’ 1938 win( The Guardian )

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