That Hypocrisy Meter Again…

hypocrisy_meter__a_graphic_for_facebook_and_forums_by_askgriff-d5myy33Don’t you just love Westminster.

BBC had the story in the image below up today.

The MP in question is Damian Collins (that isn’t him in the photo, that’s Chuck Blazer).

You might be interested in this article about Collins in the Independent. It’s about MPs who own homes in London yet still claim rent.


MP FraudThose two links in conjunction makes me wonder about the other thing we learned about Westminster today, which is bB1eXGHyIQAAQ03Aasically that they are destroying expenses records to make sure no one can look into them and some other MPs felt fit to comment on it.

I can think of another one who has had some serious questions about his expenses over the years, but given his current position of running for what no one has even tried to make an important post yet, I’m not sure any journalists will bother to bring it up.

It’s All In The Game

Abuse, discrimination, corruption, people-trafficking, violence, threats, racism and the deaths of people like Diego Mendieta and Bruno Zandonadi.

What am I talking about? A Central-American dictatorship or drug war?

Actually no. I am talking about professional football.

I’ll start with a quote…

There is a myth that needs to be shattered in football and it is incredibly important [that people] understand this – if you go behind the scenes and you dig in to the stories that underlie the hypocrisy of FIFA, the power grab of FIFA, yes it may outrage you that Sepp Blatter has an unopposed election.black1 All those things are indeed compelling and they are all very interesting but behind that there is a reality, and the reality is that there is a human cost to the monopolisation of football by 24 men and women with no accountability and no oversight, and this system has VICTIMS, it has a BODY COUNT, it has people who are threatened, people who are beaten up, people who are abused [and] people who are trafficked like modern slaves. All of this is the reality of modern day football and it is glossed over when you look at the English Premier League or the leading leagues. It is very disturbing to people who know what the reality is.

I obviously think it is fair when people become angry at spoilt, overpaid players and corrupt officials. However, that is not the majority of the game and supposing everyone involved in the game is in the same happy, rich or fat-cat position is akin to thinking sweatshop workers are in the same position as the avaricious executives in the higher parts of companies.

There is a dark underbelly to what goes on in football. This recent podcast by Beyond The Pitch featuring David Larkin of Change FIFA should give you an entry into some of the goings on, and that is where the above quote is taken from. They suggest you download and read this document called the Black Book from FIFPro the players union about some of the horrible things that go on and I’d suggest it to you also, particularly, as he says in the podcast, the facts and findings part which starts on page 12 of the link I provided.

It is also important to note that although this document refers to Eastern Europe these findings are by no means unique to there, nor are they the worst things that have been going on.

FIFA, Pots & Kettles

Transparency International have cut their ties with FIFA. They are angry that FIFA have appointed on overseer who won’t implement some of their recommendations such as reexamining old scandals.

Sylvia Schenk, TI’s sports adviser, said Mr Pieth could not remain independent of Fifa if he was being paid by the organisation.

“We believe that someone paid by Fifa cannot be a member of the independent commission [overseeing reforms],” Ms Schenk told the Press Association Sport news agency.

“He has a contract with Fifa so he is not independent in that sense.”

FIFA has been getting accused of all sorts for quite a while now and Foul! The Secret World of FIFA: Bribes, Vote-Rigging And Scandals is a pretty devastating book and I would recommend it.

However, Transparency International has, as Greg Palast said, some questions to answer itself…

You should know this: Transparency International is itself a corrupted organization – a kind of bribery cartel. One of its big benefactors is Balfour Beatty construction – Britain’s ‘Halliburton’ – which has admitted to massive bribery.

Five years ago I reported how the former chairman of Transparency International’s backer, “announced with enormous pride that he personally had handed over the check to the government minister for the Pergau Dam bribe.” See, “War On Corruption? Not Quite, Minister,” The London Guardian, Sunday, July 9, 2000.

TI’s support comes from bribe payers who want to reduce their pay-outs — but not eliminate them or the edge they give over honest businesses.

Powerbase also say, although the link is dead, that…

Beth Aub was a co-founder of Transparency International and was the general secretary for TI’s Jamaica chapter. She resigned her membership of the ‘global anti-corruption body’ in 2004, alleging that TI tolerated corrupt practices such as “facilitation payments”, a term she described as another name for bribery and corruption.

They also provide a list of funders…

Anglo American | Bombardier | BP International Consolidated Contractors | EBRD | Fluor Corporation | Halcrow Group | Hilti Corporation | Hochtief | International Federation of Inspection Agencies | ISIS Equity Partners | KPMG | Motorola | Novo Nordisk | Obayashi Corporation | Pfizer | PricewaterhouseCoopers | Rio Tinto | SGS | SIKA | Skanska | SNC Lavalin | Deutsche Bank

The powerbase article on transparency international is here.

Not Exactly in the Spirit of the Thing

The term the ‘olympic spirit’ is somewhat misunderstood if you consider that in the ancient olympics, if you knew your opponent was better than you, it was quite the done thing to nip into his tent and night and snip is hamstrings thus clearing the way for your victory.

However, if you take it in its modern sense of meaning helping and improving humanity (in somewhat limited areas I grant you), fair play, trying to be the best and all the other sporting metaphors that shouldn’t always be used as a guide in other areas of life but far too often are, then something else that seems against the spirit of the thing is that  the word olympics is a registered trademark.

This isn’ t new however.

The United States Olympic Committee and Trademark Infringement forbids the use of ...

The words Olympic, Olympiad, Citius Altius Fortius, or any combination or simulation thereof tending to cause confusion, to cause mistake, to deceive, or to falsely suggest a connection with the corporation of any Olympic activity.

The London 2012 people have done the same thing. At a basic level this means that they could do you if, for example, you wanted to have a competition in your school (or technically even your back garden) called The ********* Secondary School Olympics as this might cause confusion with the real thing.

It’s an indicator that these major sports, although we may or may not find them, or bits of them, enthralling, are definitely not of the people in the way that they are often portrayed.

Every time one of them comes round in any country troublemakers are rounded-up beforehand and people are evicted from  their homes to make way for the tournament infrastructure. In the run-up to the China olympics there was much of this kind of thing in the media but for the London Olympics it has been there, but much less prominantly so.

Also, most of the money these tournaments escapes without doing any real good.

FIFA have been getting a bit of a going over in the media of late, the IOC could be doing with one too.


The IOC and FIFA are essentially unaccountable bodies that have a huge influence on people’s lives. Just think about the amount of people that are displaced or have their homes demolished against their will when one of these big tournaments comes along.

So if you, like me, have never particularly liked Sepp Blatter and people like him…have a little laugh at this…