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Tuesday, April 18, 2006

Is FIFA more involved in politics than it likes to admit?

I've already devoted three posts to FIFA over the last two weeks. FIFA, international soccer's governing body, claims to be'politically neutral.' But as noted in my previous posts, they are considering sanctioning Israel for bombing an empty stadium in Gaza that was used to launch Kassam rockets (while ignoring a Kassam that landed in an Israeli soccer stadium), and now they are taking great pains to see to it that Iran is able to participate in the World Cup.

... [m]aybe we should start a letter writing campaign calling for FIFA, soccer's world governing body, to ban Iran from the World Cup.

But hold your horses. Put down your pens. The last people you should expect any support from would be FIFA. Because, despite Iran's insane leaders, FIFA consistently stresses that it does not get involved in politics and the Iranian soccer team is completely welcome at Germany 2006.

In a statement released on Tuesday last week, FIFA president Sepp Blatter claimed that: "In today's world, which is disrupted by long-lasting disputes and violence, football is one of the very few universal tools mankind can use... to symbolize what unites our planet over what divides it. FIFA's role is not to reprimand, but to help create bonds."

Lovely words. But this press release, which contains the phrase "FIFA, a non-political organization", was released to announce that the organization will be paying for the "rehabilitation" of the national stadium in Gaza, which had been damaged by IDF artillery fire a week and a half earlier.

FIFA would love you to believe that the reason they had decided to pay for the refurbishments was to "promote friendly relations between its members and in society for humanitarian objectives".

However, looking at the background of what led to this decision, it seems that FIFA is acting in anything but a non-political manner.

Read it all.


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