Soccer is a beautiful game. It’s a simple game with a minimalist structure that elevates athletic creativity like few other sports. This simplicity, this purity, is what makes soccer globally adored. From the multi million-dollar stadiums of the first world to the dirt floors of the third, soccer is a beloved part of life.
But the beautiful game has an ugly side. FIFA - soccer's international governing body has been accused (again) of accepting bribes and payoffs. Soccer’s greatest asset - its universal appeal - capable of capturing the hearts of both posh London suburbs and broken Nairobi slums has been monetized, packaged and sold to corporate sponsors, state governments and political lobbyists under the table. Corruption charges have persisted for years and it was only after the FBI had the jurisdictional opportunity that any legitimate charges were filed.
Meanwhile, FIFA is still flush with cash and is operating business as usual, not that it cares to spend any of it on its female competitors. Field conditions at the Women’s World Cup has been an issue for months, something the men simply wouldn’t stand for. The response from FIFA has essentially been “be grateful for what you’ve been given.” FIFA is the textbook definition of corruption. Prostituting its best assets, refusing obvious improvements and corrections, then denying and redirecting blame.
Corruption is the word that Genesis uses to describe our world after sin entered. FIFA is a microcosm of that. What once was pure and good has been tainted and broken. Corruption continues because wicked people benefit and we’re all wicked. Everyone sells out, everyone turns a blind eye, its what we are now, part of the corruption. Reforms, elections, investigations, and transparency wont change anything because those efforts remain internal and therefore will never be free of the original corruption.
But there is hope. There is hope for those who understand that our salvation is not a series of internal reforms. Our salvation is an external, incorruptible person who exists outside of our broken world and yet loved it so much that he entered into it and got his hands dirty. He became corruption so that we could become pure again. In a world of never ending headlines about scandal, evil, tragedy and pain, this is really, really good news.
2 Corinthians 5:21 “For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.”
Director of Communications