Tag Archives: FIFA

2018 FIFA World Cup

There is something so amazing about the World Cup. It must be that it comes in the dog days of summer when baseball has barely gotten hold of my mind and basketball and hockey are a distant memory. It also is part of my professional life because of GoPlay. We have more than 1,000 young soccer players traveling overseas to play with some of the great international youth teams. We also are privileged to be part of the Celtic FC international football academy program.

And incidentally, I am crazy about soccer!

I love Messi and Ronaldo and just recently came back from the Champion’s League Final in Kiev, Ukraine. I am a lifelong supporter of Manchester United. For these three weeks in the summer every four years, I hold my breath and watch in awe.

Peter (second from left) in a Manchester United book

This year the World Cup is in Russia and takes place in cities I have never been to in the outer reaches of the huge country. It’s played under the watchful eye of Putin and the new regime of FIFA. A supposedly corrupt-free environment. Ojala!

What I like about it the most is that here we are watching the highest level of football played by 32 countries that range from Iran and Egypt to Morocco and Senegal and the mighty Spain, Germany, and Brazil. Oh yeah, and England too…It is a rainbow of humanity, of artists, playing a game that is so difficult to play in the sweltering heat of a Russian summer. They grace us with a sporting ballet, a drama, that even Puccini could not muster and heartbreak, success, and failure for players and fans in stadiums and televisions all over the world. It is our bread and circus.

Soccer has improved. The skill level is amazing and in eight years, the USA, Canada, and Mexico will host an expanded 48 team roster. I believe that the USA will be a force to be reckoned with. There are 25 million kids playing soccer in the USA and a whole lot of Cristiano Ronaldo’s are about to be revealed to the world.


FIFA is the organization responsible for the governance of soccer worldwide.

It sponsors tournaments directly, like the World Cup, and is responsible for the adjudication of the game. The rules, the referees, and the technology that helps make decisions better. Under FIFA’s umbrella are the various worldwide regional bodies like UEFA that control the soccer programs and tournaments of the continents around the world. In other words, it is a pretty big deal!

So of course the scandal of FIFA over the past couple of years has created great focus on how much money moves in and out of the pockets of the various people who run this organization.

They make money on scams for tickets, bribes for tournament venues like the World Cup, not to mention, the extraordinary wages they get paid and the perks of being part of this secret society of FIFA. Thank goodness for the Americans. They came along, busted a whole bunch of guys, and currently have extradition notices on a number of the top FIFA officials that pocketed more money for one deal than most of us see in a lifetime. The chief executive of FIFA, his assistant, and the chief executive of UEFA have been suspended from anything to do with soccer for six years or more. These disreputable folks who have assaulted the beautiful sport of soccer and turned it into a mafia-driven money laundering vehicle, will probably get away with most of the charges and sit gracefully by their Swiss lakeside chalet houses counting their grubbily earned Swiss Francs. It is a pity because soccer is the fastest growing sport, it is a beautiful game to watch, and in America especially we are getting hip to the intricacies and fun of playing and watching this worldwide phenomena. So as I was driving from Tasch, Switzerland, to connect to the car train through the mountains, I could not help but stop the car and look out into the distance where I saw the Sepp Blatter Primary School in the town of Visp. Wow, I thought, this is where they teach the kids all of that stuff!! Seriously though, Sepp Blatter who was the head of FIFA until he was unceremoniously disposed is from the town of Visp. It is not a very special town but it is a main hub for the various trains that comprise the cog railway system and the high speed intercity trains that connect ski paradises to Geneva and Lausanne. I guess he also put a lot of his “hard earned money” into education. Amidst the mountains and the lakes, this guy even got into the primary school. At least some of the dodgy money went to a good cause! Let us pray for better days at the top of our beloved sport.

FIFA Pietro Place Peter Jones FIFA Pietro Place Peter Jones