Wednesday Morning Open Thread: FIFA Fo Fum…

World Cup 2018 is set to begin, and I hope to Murphy the Trickster God that some front pager who actually understands “the beautiful sport” will keep us all current. Meanwhile, its ruling body FIFA is voting to decide which country will host the 2026 Cup… and relationship status is complicated. Here’s the NYTimes liveblog:

MOSCOW — FIFA is holding its annual congress on Wednesday. The biggest item on the agenda is the vote to award the hosting rights to the 2026 World Cup. There are only two announced candidates: a combined North American bid from the United States, Mexico and Canada, and a solo offering from Morocco.

How to watch: The FIFA vote is being streamed live on The FIFA Congress began just after 9 a.m. local time (2 a.m. Eastern). Fox Sports will begin programming at 6:30 a.m. Eastern. If you have beIN Sports, you can watch at 6 a.m….

The 2026 vote is the headliner, but FIFA has other matters on the agenda, too. There will be consideration of proposed changes to FIFA’s statutes, and the potential for the suspension or expulsion of members (Ghana’s soccer association, for example, is in the middle of a serious corruption crisis). FIFA will approve a budget — The Times got hold of those numbers yesterday — and plenty of arcane talk of rules and committee assignments…

Ken Bensinger, in the Washington Post, “If the U.S. doesn’t get the 2026 World Cup, blame Trump”:

By almost any measure, “United 2026” should handily carry the day. FIFA’s own evaluations give that bid vastly superior marks, praising the North American nations’ infrastructure, finances and rule of law, while sharply questioning Morocco’s ability to host a complex event requiring construction of nine new stadiums and rehabilitation of five others, as well as billions of dollars in new airports, hotels and highways. Morocco’s cost estimates are suspect, and its projections of profits even more so, especially when held up against a proposal that would with little doubt produce the most lucrative World Cup in history.

About the only advantage that Morocco — a nation with a GDP slightly smaller than that of the state of Arizona — seems to have is that it’s on the same time zone as Western Europe, where television viewers would be able to watch World Cup matches in lucrative prime time.

That, and the fact that it’s not the United States…

FIFA bylaws strictly forbid any governmental interference or influence in its internal decisions, which in theory means that leaders such as French President Emmanuel Macron or German Chancellor Angela Merkel shouldn’t express their pique at Trump by putting pressure on the heads of their countries’ respective soccer associations. Indeed, after Trump tweeted in late April that it would be “a shame if countries that we always support were to lobby against the U.S. bid” and then followed up several days later with a speech containing a thinly veiled threat against African countries should they vote for Morocco, FIFA sternly warned the White House against inappropriate meddling that would violate its ethics code.

But the reality is that global soccer is a profoundly political institution, inexorably intertwined with the channels of power in countries where devotion to the sport everyone else calls “football” borders on religious fervor…

79 replies
  1. 1
    Patricia Kayden says:

    Dang! Bottles igniting paper shouldn’t be a thing.
    I hope Russian officials are able to keep racists in check during World Cup games or things could get ugly.

  2. 2
    Amir Khalid says:

    Ahem. It’s “the beautiful game”. (O jogo bonito, in the orginal Portuguese.)

    the sport everyone else calls “football”

    American exceptionalism. I like that.

    When the FIFA vote goes the way of the joint Mexico/USA/Canada bid, expect the Commander of Cheese to gloat like he won it for America, and only for America, all by himself. Come the event itself, if (God forbid) ICE remains the den of horrors it has become under Trump and Sessions, expect to hear stories of Mexican football fans with match tickets getting turned away or even arrested at the border.

  3. 3

    So. The bastard Russians are the host shithole country, & that shitheel Rupert Murdoch’s Fox Sports has the American rights. No way in hell am I watching any of it. I still have principles!

  4. 4
    Amir Khalid says:

    @Patricia Kayden:
    This kind of lensing is known to happen with some curved glass surfaces in sunlight, which can be a danger to cars parked near buildings with this kind of exterior. It’s also why broken bottles left in sunlight at camping grounds can pose a fire hazard. And a spherical water bottle made of clear plastic is an excellent lens …

  5. 5
    WereBear says:

    @Amir Khalid: Thank you for explanation. My first thought was Chinese manufacturing going very wrong…

  6. 6
    satby says:

    Good morning everyone (evening Amir)!

    I assume front pager Randino, our resident football expert will come back with commentary. Some wonk who used to post as Mayhew also was an amateur referee too. So expertise is available.

    I signed up as a volunteer with Jason Kander’s group Let America Vote and they’re pretty good about keeping me informed about actions in my area. In case anyone is still looking for GOTV volunteer opportunities. There’s a conference call tonight about the strategy following the recent SCOTUS decision.

  7. 7
    NotMax says:


  8. 8
    Baud says:

    I see we flipped that Wisconsin seat. Good news.

  9. 9
    satby says:

    @NotMax: perfectly summarizing my take today.

  10. 10
    Baud says:

    @Amir Khalid:

    At least 2026 is well past Trump’s maximum possible time in office. I kind of hope FIFA mentions that.

  11. 11
    rikyrah says:

    Good Morning, Everyone 😄😄😄

  12. 12
    rikyrah says:

    Please report back satby, after the call

  13. 13
    Baud says:

    @rikyrah: Good morning.

  14. 14
    Chet says:

    I recall in 2009 Republicans rooted openly against Chicago getting the 2016 Olympics bid because of Teh Blah President. I won’t do that. Bringing the World Cup back to the USA will be good for the country and for the broader appeal of the sport.

    And maybe by the time it happens, Trump will have earned TV privileges and can watch the games from his cell.

  15. 15
    OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Baud: trump has a dream to have a trump hotel attached to every venue.

  16. 16
    Baud says:

    @Chet: I like the way you think.

  17. 17
    Baud says:


    While I’m not a big fan of civil asset forfeiture, I can get behind it in the case of Trump properties.

  18. 18
  19. 19
    Tony Jay says:

    @Patricia Kayden:

    It’s going to be quite monumentally ugly, especially after the host country gets knocked out and all of those state-approved ‘Defenders of The Motherland’ have even more free time to target supporters of nations currently giving Russia side-eye and anyone of a dusky hue and/or fabulous attitude.

    At least one English player has told his family not to come and watch him play (in what might be his only World Cup) because of the shit that he, they and everyone with an ounce of common sense knows will be thrown at black people in Putinist Russia. He won’t be the only one, which is as sad as it is disgusting.

    Well done, FIFA. I hope this mockery of a tournament and the coming disaster in Qatar finally wrecks you so that something a little less irredeemably corrupt can rise from the ashes.

  20. 20
    raven says:

    Isn’t it Rhandino?

  21. 21
    WereBear says:

    @rikyrah: Thanks, followed!

    I have struggled with my online presence, since my personal account is somewhat hampered by my job-related non-partisan stance, and my cat account is about the Brand and animal rights.

    Which bleeds over into human rights… and there we are. At this point, I follow who I like and LIKE who I like but do not comment or retweet.

  22. 22
    OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Baud: The way I figure it, by the end of trump’s admin the US govt will have paid more than trump tower and mar a lago are worth combined protecting his pretending to golf while eating Big Macs ass and they will be ours. Of course, they aren’t worth half of what trump pretends they are.

  23. 23
    satby says:

    @raven: spelling fail on my part, you’re correct.

  24. 24
    Le Comte de Monte Cristo, fka Edmund Dantes says:

    I’ve been thinking a lot about the NSC produced fake movie clip, and how it is worrying.

    Buried within about a third of the way through is the “great man” theory of societal movement and action. Trump sees himself that way, as do Putin, Erdogan, Kim and the rest of the people that Trump is trying to attach himself to at the expense of collegial decision-making among a leadership cadre that act more or less as equals. There is an extreme danger here that Frankenstein’s Monster (the GOP/Trump base) will focus this tendency further to lurch into domestic purges.

  25. 25
    satby says:

    @OzarkHillbilly: when we replace the hideous people in charge with sane people, I’d love to see Trump properties in the USA turned into housing for low income people and temporary nice accommodations for immigrant families seeking asylum. Because that would be poetic justice.

  26. 26
    Baud says:

    My BJ presence will be lighter and more intermittent over the next couple of months. I know you jackals worry about such things.

  27. 27
    OzarkHillbilly says:

    @satby: I like how you think.

  28. 28
    Viva BrisVegas says:

    @Amir Khalid:

    American exceptionalism. I like that.

    The term “soccer” is older than the internationalisation of Association Football. Soccer is an entirely legitimate term for Association Football, just as rugger is for Rugby Football. Both terms are contractions that have been around since the late 19th Century.

    It’s a curious thing that soccer never became the major form of football in any of the English speaking colonies, Australia, New Zealand, Canada, and the US. This was probably down to a class based mobility in the 19th Century of the followers of the Rugby based games that didn’t exist in the more static English working class base for soccer.

    But at least FIFA is the only international sporting agency that makes the Olympic Committee look honest by comparison.

  29. 29
    Gin & Tonic says:

    I know people love their football, and I don’t want to be the turd in the punchbowl, but this World Cup is being hosted by a country which only four years ago launched a military invasion of its neighbor, which continues to this day, responsible for over 10,000 dead.

  30. 30
    Kay says:


    It got a lot of attention. What’s funny is there’s a substantial move in the other direction, away from the conservative SCOTUS position. What the far Right judges are trying to do is overturn the 1993 “motor voter” law, which expanded registration.But some states have gone much further towards liberalizing election process than the 1993 law ever dreamed. There are two ways to do that- election day registration and “automatic” registration.

    Five states are exempt from the National Voter Registration Act of 1993 because they have continuously since 1993 had EDR: Idaho, Minnesota, New Hampshire, Wisconsin and Wyoming. Maine lost the exemption when it abolished EDR in 2011, though it was subsequently restored. North Dakota is also exempt because it does not have a registration requirement. Other states which have adopted some form of EDR include Colorado (2014), Connecticut (2012), Illinois (2015), Iowa (2008), Maine (1973), Montana (2006), Vermont (2017),and Washington DC. Connecticut and California both implemented EDR in 2012 and Connecticut started EDR with its municipal elections in 2013. Rhode Island has EDR for presidential elections. California will start in 2015 or once it has implemented its statewide voter registration database. Hawaii begins EDR in 2018. In June 2011, Maine abolished EDR, which had been in place since 1973, and abolished absentee voting during the two business days before an election.However, the stipulation banning EDR was overturned in a November 2011 citizen referendum when Maine voters reinstated EDR with 59% in favor.

    11 states have automatic voter registration. Alaska just put it in.

    People want convenience. They just want to register and vote, in the easiest and most fuss-free way possible. The conservative justices are trying to return to the pre-1993 world ‘o voting and a lot of states have made motor voter irrelevant because they streamlined election process and left the federal law behind. Some states have BOTH- election day and automatic.

    We’re not going to win on this because people care about voting rights. We’re going to win because people like modernity and convenience, even in conservative states like Alaska.

  31. 31
    Highway Rob says:

    Per AP on twitter, the North American bid won.

  32. 32
    JPL says:

    @Baud: Oh no!

  33. 33
    Baud says:


    We’re not going to win on this because people care about voting rights. We’re going to win because people like modernity and convenience, even in conservative states like Alaska.

    Agree. Sadly, our morality doesn’t get us a majority. We need other arguments.

  34. 34
    satby says:

    @Baud: we do, so thanks for letting us know. Still hoping to hear an egg update, did we ever get one?

    I’m also going to be backing away from so much online time. Need to reprioritze a few things.

  35. 35
    Kay says:


    It’s nice to be exempt from motor voter, too! States like that. Then they don’t have to do all the reporting the law requires, because it isn’t just “motor voter”- it’s not just at motor vehicles. It’s at department of human services- welfare offices.

    So you modernize your voting process and you get an exemption from a 25 year old law that is expensive to administer, complex and is sued on constantly. That’s a big carrot. Just dispense with the whole problem completely and make your voters happy, because voting is more convenient. Conservatives were so busy working on stopping people from voting they forgot to serve voters- even the voters they want. Another ten years the laws they’re gutting will be lapped by state law, and irrelevant.

  36. 36
    JPL says:

    @Highway Rob: There was local breaking news, since Atlanta is one of the hosts.

  37. 37
    Baud says:

    @satby: egg update?

  38. 38
    OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Kay: Good to hear from you Kay. You’ve been missed.

  39. 39
    Gin & Tonic says:

    @Baud: Sunny-side up, or over easy?

  40. 40
    debbie says:


    That is good news. All NPR is focusing on is the GOP wins in SC, VA, etc.

  41. 41
    satby says:

    @Baud: efg. Serves me right for getting coffee instead of watching autocorrect like a hawk.

  42. 42
    Gin & Tonic says:

    @Highway Rob: Bet you a hundred bucks the Commander of Cheese takes the credit.

  43. 43
    Raven says:

    @Gin & Tonic: shit, 10,000 is nuttin fer them russkies!

  44. 44
    satby says:

    @debbie: NPR, like the NYT, is pure garbage.

  45. 45
    debbie says:


    Ohio’s saying they won’t purge until after the fall elections. I don’t buy it, not for a nanosecond.

  46. 46
    OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Gin & Tonic: Bet you a thousand bucks you are right.

  47. 47
    debbie says:

    @Le Comte de Monte Cristo, fka Edmund Dantes:

    I don’t find it worrying; it’s just too silly to get much traction.

  48. 48
    debbie says:


    Again???? So soon?

  49. 49
    debbie says:


    Along with stripping and melting down all the gold to pay down the debt he created.

  50. 50
    Kay says:


    Some states indicate there is little to no additional cost in implementing same day registration

    It’s the best thing ever! :)

  51. 51
    Gin & Tonic says:

    @Raven: Maybe so. But it’s 10,000 Ukrainians that have died trying to defend their country from the invaders. Plus 298 innocent civilians aboard MH17.

    Here’s a series of posters prepared for the occasion by a Ukrainian artist.

  52. 52
  53. 53
    debbie says:

    @Gin & Tonic:

    The soldier standing in the net is particularly effective.

  54. 54
    MomSense says:

    Molotov water bottles. It’s going to be an interesting World Cup.

  55. 55
    Kay says:


    Ohio has a ballot process though- we can make the whole question moot and the far Right judges with their unelected, lifetime tenure will have to spend their days scheming on some other way to keep people from voting.

    “Election day registration- it’s modern and convenient” Just push past them. They richly deserve irrelevancy. Sotomayor is right- they’re impractical and out of touch with how people actually live.

  56. 56
  57. 57
    Another Scott says:

    @satby: The “Contact a Front Pager” widget under the Quick Links at the top of the page says it’s “Randinho”.


    It’s kinda weird how the “h” moves around, and is tough to keep track of, for many of us English speakers. I know I mess up Gandhi vs Ghandi far too often.


  58. 58

    I’ve been trying to ignore Trump’s tweets but I can’t quit him completely:

    Just landed – a long trip, but everybody can now feel much safer than the day I took office. There is no longer a Nuclear Threat from North Korea. Meeting with Kim Jong Un was an interesting and very positive experience. North Korea has great potential for the future!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) June 13, 2018

    Don’t you feel safer now?

  59. 59
  60. 60
    Baud says:

    @Gin & Tonic:

    Bet you a hundred bucks the Commander of Cheese takes the credit.

    The right puffs up their leaders’ “accomplishments” while we shit on our party when real progress doesn’t go far enough. We can’t fix the NYT, but I hope we can learn to fix ourselves.

  61. 61
    Baud says:

    @Dorothy Winsor: I feel better that it looks less likely that we will launch a preemptive nuclear war.

  62. 62
    debbie says:


    I cannot wait until Husted’s out of there.

    Have you seen any of Sherrod’s ads? I’ve seen two, and they’re both as nasty as anything the GOP would run. I hope he’s still planning to pivot to something focusing more on what he’s accomplished for Ohio and the unions.

  63. 63
    Kay says:


    Sean Sullivan
    ‏Need evidence of Trump’s dominance in the GOP? Just look at the last 12 hrs:
    1. Mark Sanford, Trump critic, on the ropes.
    2. Bob Corker, retiring Trump critic, is a Senate GOP outlier who says no one will “poke the bear.”
    3. Corey Stewart, Trump-style GOPer, wins VA primary.

    That’s going to get worse before it gets better. They can’t handle Trump. They’re completely flummoxed by him. Now the whole GOP is Trump. They’ll all be rabid open racists who lie constantly. It worked for the guy at the top!

    They thought they were flailing around before. Now they have 500 Trumps – it’s an entire political Party. More, if you count state government.

    This is true:

    8h8 hours ago
    More Official Centrism Retweeted Christopher Mathias
    Steve King went from normal prairie racist to hardcore cryptofascist and our entire political and media ecosystem is just totally unequipped to handle it.

    Unequipped. Flailing. They gotta change. They have to figure out a new approach. First they’d have to admit it’s changed, and I don’t even see them doing that.

  64. 64
    debbie says:


    You’re right. I can’t think of a thing the GOP has ever acknowledged ever being wrong about. I am worried about what this flailing about and these death throes will do to the rest of us.

    ETA: Actually, and I hope he realizes this, Trump is the outgrowth of Dick Cheney’s relentless ruthlessness.

  65. 65
    Kay says:


    Sherrod runs really good campaigns. He’s too liberal for Ohio and yet he manages to thrive. I don’t really question his approach. He’s almost a one-off nationally. There are as or more liberal Senators but not in a 50/50 state. Claire McCaskill is the only one I can think of who overcomes like he does.

  66. 66
    jonas says:

    @Baud: Indeed. Who knew that all it would take is for the president to just pretend the threat is gone? Why didn’t Obama think of that? (“During our meeting, President Assad said he wants an end to the civil war in Syria. Now that the war is over, I am proud to have played a small part in turning Syria into a peaceful, prosperous nation.”)

  67. 67
    bystander says:

    @Kay: I’m loving the Sanford story. Sure, no more Appalachian Trail humor, but still, seeing him shivved by a trumpleton is worth at least a chuckle.

  68. 68
    Kay says:


    I think they will adjust because they have to adjust. Trump is trouncing media. He has them running around in circles. They keep cycling thru what worked in the past – mollify Republicans? Call them out? Fact check? Create lists? – and it just isn’t cutting it.

    Multiply that by 500. He’s the Party now.

  69. 69
  70. 70
    Amir Khalid says:

    @Viva BrisVegas:
    Let me find my pedant hat first. Okay, here it is.

    Now then. The sport’s formal name is and always has been “association football” (because its first organising body called itself the Football Association and still does), commonly abbreviated to just “football”. Fußball in German, voetball in Dutch, fútbol in Spanish, le football in French, “bolasepak” in Malay, and so on: either the English word itself in most languages or a more-or-less direct translation. The abbreviation “soccer” is out of fashion in Britain and other Anglophone countries which don’t have some other, more popular, code of football — e.g. American football, played with the hands and an oval ball; or Aussie rules, which I gather is played mostly with the fist and an opponent’s face. ;)

  71. 71
    Another Scott says:

    Reuters is reporting that Mexico/Canada/USA won the bid.

    [ Late again. ;-) ]


  72. 72
    OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Kay: Claire is a badass.

  73. 73
    Victor Matheson says:

    You can love the World Cup (the greatest sporting event in the world) while still hating FIFA and Putin. It’s not Messi’s fault that his boss is corrupt.

  74. 74
    Kay says:


    I loved when she promoted the crazy person in the GOP primary, because that’s who she preferred to run against.

    What is wrong with that? Can she NOT do that? Is there a RULE? :)

    I knew they would tsk tsk her, and they did.

  75. 75
    Kay says:


    @KellyannePolls on @foxandfriends: “The last president was handed the Nobel Peace Prize, this president is actually going to earn it.”

    Nice dog whistle there Kellyanne. Imagine. This person is a respected member of the campaign-industrial complex.

    We;ll continue to have lousy, empty, soul-sucking campaigns that people hate as long as we promote such low quality people and as long as Kellyanne and Fox and Friends get paid enormous amounts of money for mean-spirited garbage.

    I don’t think stand-up comedians or actors are the problem. This multibillion dollar sector is the problem. It rewards awfulness.

  76. 76
    Leto says:

    @Victor Matheson: It’s not Messi’s fault, but that doesn’t mean I have to watch/support it. Euro2016 was a preview of the hooliganism that’s about to be seen, even more so after Putin basically deputized a large number of the hooligans as “assistant venue security” officials. I’m hoping in my heart of hearts that it goes off without mass violence, but I just don’t see that happening. I’ll be happy to be proven wrong.

  77. 77
    rikyrah says:


    There are two ways to do that- election day registration and “automatic” registration.

    I am proud to be from a state that, by this November, will have both :)

  78. 78
    rikyrah says:


    Ohio’s saying they won’t purge until after the fall elections. I don’t buy it, not for a nanosecond.

    Not for a nanosecond.

  79. 79
    debbie says:


    No one who calls countries ‘shitholes’ or people ‘animals’ should be allowed anywhere near any peace prizes.

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