FIFA’s Dive


FIFA’s World Cup Dive?

World Cup 2014 Review

Germany My Foot

Oh what a fine tournament it was? For these times maybe.

Like a con man’s mark, it’s worth asking yourself ‘What just happened here?’

Two extraordinary in-game incidents--a hallmark of match-fixing--involving none other than the captain of the most-favored team--Brazil--and the sport’s top-scorer last season--Luis Suarez--marked the 2014 World Cup and sent the two top players in Germany’s way out of the competition, paving the way for the German win. Germany had to go up against either Brazil or Suarez’s Uruguay--whichever came thru the July 04 quarter-finals face-off. Uruguay, with 31-goal scoring Suarez on board, might well have eliminated them, just as Host Brazil--favorite at 3-to-1 going in @Las Vegas--may well have done, armed with its captain Neymar.

Suarez enjoys a bite of Italian

But as it happened in the dodgy world of FIFA football, Suarez bit the dust against Italy June 24, in the Natal Bite incident. Deprived of the two-time player of the year, Uruguay was eliminated in its very next match, in the June 28 Round of 16, by Colombia.

Colombia in its following match on July 04 put the vicious, back-breaking hit on the Brazilian captain that knocked him--and ultimately Brazil--out of the competition. Up to then, Neymar already had four goals and Brazil had probably the tournament's finest goal--Luiz's  free kick wonder-goal, in this same match.

Before it became clear that Neymar had been knocked out for good, sports writers were predicting a Brazil win over Germany. Without the Zuniga hit on Brazil and the Suarez ban, Germany might well have been eliminated in the semis on July 08, facing a full-strength Brazil or Uruguay.

A Cracked Cup

The Pay-off?

On July 11, a few days before the final, the announcement came that Suarez had been released from his Liverpool contract, with 4 years remaining, to nearly double his pay package in a transfer to Barcelona. The Liverpool owner--the American John Henry--had stated publicly 08/08/2013 that Suarez would not be let out of his earlier contract, with three years left, before Suarez made a U-turn to sign up for a four-year extension Dec. 2013 for £40m. Now after events of the World Cup, Suarez gets to break his contract and transfer out of Liverpool to Barca, as well as a £75m package over five years--a 50 percent raise of £5m yearly.

The transfer was "not allowed to be publicly unveiled" by FIFA [ostensibly as part of the ban], conveniently keeping what may have been the result of shady dealings out of the limelight. Similarly, in the post-tournament recap program “All the Goals”--a comprehensive video review of highlights from match one to the final in all groups--the Suarez bow-out bite incident was entirely air brushed out of history--not included in the edit and not even referred to--although the Neymar hit was included.

More irregularity--distorted discipline

For his part, FIFA's Colombian hitman Juan Zuniga goes scot free--there was no ban, penalty or fine whatsoever imposed against him for what was “not a normal challenge”(--Neymar) but a deliberate criminal act that broke a man’s back (vertebrae) and reportedly nearly caused permanent paralysis to the Brazilian captain. The overhyped Suarez overbite--which caused no injury to the chomped Italian--resulted in a four-month ban that would sideline the sport’s top-scorer for the rest of the World Cup tournament. FIFA’s disproportionate discipline on the one hand--where a yellow or red card would have done--and blind eye to a blind-siding on the other--where a serious injury occurred--reeks of corruption, along with the rest of the tale.

As to the wherefores and whys of FIFAs maneuverings, lets face it. Germany (and EU head Merkel) can use the PR.

And yet more irregularity--FIFA’s suspect replay refusal

Although FIFA relented in a limited way to longstanding demands for 21st century technical oversight of the rampantly questionable officials by allowing "goal line technology,"  it still refused to back down on not allowing replays that would eliminate the ridiculous diving that plagues the sport and for many, ruins the flow of the matches.

This refusal is suspect because the only bona fide reason to take that position is to preserve the great leeway and influence that referees have on the outcome--a situation that further facilitates match fixing.

Sign of the Times

We cannot close an article on a German World Cup victory taking place in Brazil without mentioning Gisele Bundchen, the model who presented the World Cup trophy at the July 13 final in Rio. As her surname would suggest, the Brazilian is of German ancestry. Though she has claimed that her family has been in Brazil for six generations or so, counterclaims on the internet have said that there is compelling evidence that suggests her grandfather, Walter Bundchen, was one of the Nazi fugitive “Boys from Brazil.”

In which case, she would have made the perfect presenter of FIFA’s 2014 World Cup in Brasil as a sort of additional, homecoming trophy to “the German heroes” (--BBC).



Tuesday 15 July 2014