Miami is a bastion of big-time sports, with an avid fan base spanning many millions of viewers. It is likely that, with the ever-growing momentum it is forging in the United States, professional soccer will one day become a huge draw throughout South Florida.
Because soccer is really big. Globally, there is no other sport that rivals it. Some countries virtually define themselves by the team that wears the national colors. Every four years, much of the world simply shuts down during the men’s World Cup tournament. Soccer stars like Lionel Messi, Neymar and Christiano Ronaldo are international superstars in every sense of the world.
Unfortunately for the so-called “beautiful game,” much of the rapt attention that is customarily affixed on its premier players has lately transferred to international soccer’s top officials.
Even if you’re not much of a soccer fan, you’ve likely heard the acronym FIFA, especially of late. It stands for the Federation Internationale de Football Association, which is the sport’s global governing body.
Reportedly, many of FIFA’s top officials, just like its stars, live large and lavish lifestyles. It is not fans, though, that are showing a deep interest in the details of their wealth and spending habits.
Rather, it is a mass collection of agents from the FBI and IRS, with those agencies taking center stage in soccer’s world last week pursuant to myriad indictments issued in a massive white collar crime investigation alleging multiple fraud-related activities committed by top-ranking FIFA executives.
The story is fascinating. We will sort it out in some detail for readers in our next blog post.
Source: The New York Times, “A U.S. tax investigation snowballed to stun the soccer world,” Matt Apuzzo, May 29, 2015