Thursday, May 28, 2015

Is the $6,000 cat apartment enough to ring down the curtain on soccer once and for all?


FRIDAY UPDATE: Sepp Blatter reelected sheik of FIFA!

This is No. 3 of Alexandra Petri's "Thoughts on the ex-FIFA exec's $6,000 cat apartment, in no particular order," but I really think we need to get a ruling on it. Isn't the subject supposed to be unruly cats? (See below.)

by Ken

I admit I haven't been paying as close attention as I should have to the scandal of these FIFA bigwigs who've been indicted -- not for being FIFA bigwigs but for being, you know, crooks. I thought it was by now sufficiently well established that FIFA, the international soccer governing board, is itself primarily, if not entirely, a criminal enterprise. I mean, didn't the New York Daily News story announcing the arrests refer to FIFA as "world soccer's notoriously corrupt governing body"?

Answer: Yes, it did.
Turmoil has engulfed FIFA, world soccer’s notoriously corrupt governing body, after a wave of international arrests of its top executives and the unsealing of a 47-count U.S. federal indictment based in the Eastern District of New York.

The arrests commenced early Wednesday morning led by Swiss authorities working in conjunction with U.S. law enforcement officials. At least 14 individuals were charged by prosecutors, with more charges possible after Swiss police seized records at FIFA’s headquarters in Zurich.
Didn't John Oliver and his HBO Last Week Tonight team do a staggeringly devastating exposé on "the staggering allegations of corruption against FIFA" ages ago -- on the eve of the World Cup last June?

Answer: Again, yes, they did.

Which leaves only two subjects to be discussed, as far as I can see.

(1) Is there possibly a straight line between the indictment of the FIFA 14 and the end of soccer? (One can only hope.)

(2) What the dickens is the deal with this Chuck Blazer guy?

While I was busy not paying attention to the whole mess, I missed out on this Blazer guy. The Daily News, in its report "Soccer Rat! The inside story of how Chuck Blazer, ex-U.S. soccer executive and FIFA bigwig, became a confidential informant for the FBI," provides this background on the 450-pound cooperating witness [click to enlarge]:


Which's Alexandra Petri has rightly pounced on, having gleaned this alarming detail from the aforementioned Daily News "Soccer Rat" vivisection of Chucky B. Or as she puts it:

From the New York Daily News: “[Former FIFA exec Chuck] Blazer often worked from two apartments where he lived on the 49th floor [of the Trump Tower] in $18,000 per month digs for himself and an adjoining $6,000 retreat largely for his unruly cats, according to a source.”
Which brings us to Alexandra's "thoughts," which contrary to her post title aren't quite "in no particular order."

1) What?

2) Seriously, what?

3) [This is the image I've placed atop this post, whose relevance to a piece about unruly cats seems hard to sustain. Is this or is this not the absolutely ruliest pussycat you've ever seen? Alexandra has some thoughts about feline ruliness at No. 7, but I don't think they shed any light on No. 3. I think she still has some 'splaining to do. -- Ed.]

4) Great Caesar’s Ghost, what chemical alteration takes place in the mind once they give you access to seemingly unlimited amounts of money? What switch suddenly flips? How do you start coming up with these ideas? You could talk to me for months and months about what I would do with Truly Obscene Amounts of Money and I would probably say something like “buy an island” or “dress up as a bat and fight crime” or “hire an Aaron Burr impersonator and an Alexander Hamilton impersonator and make them fight,” but nowhere on my list of things would be, “FILL A LUXURY TRUMP APARTMENT WITH UNRULY CATS.” [I notice that Alexandra makes no point of the discrepancy between the $18,000 monthly price tag on Chucky's personal apartment and the mere $6,000 tab for the tabbies'. Well, perhaps the 3:1 ratio is reasonable. -- Ed.]

5) I’m almost impressed. (Is impressed the word?) I also love the fact that he did not live in the luxury apartment with the cats himself. He lived next door, thus giving himself plausible deniability on OK Cupid dates. “Oh, you’re one of those men who lives alone with cats?” a date might ask, nervously fiddling with her salad fork. “No, no,” he would be able to say. “I don’t live with my cats.” A pause. “They live in a separate apartment that I have furnished for them next door.”

6) All in all, this choice almost gives me a kind of strange confidence in FIFA execs. At least they weren’t wasting their money on frivolous things like flashy cars or bottle service or, er, those ladies the Secret Service always liked to have around. No, Blazer went straight into Eccentric Oil Magnate/Overindulged Roman Emperor (this is probably redundant; is there any other kind?)/British royalty territory and went for the Entire Apartment Full of Unruly Cats.

7) No wonder these cats were unruly. Even ordinary cats are not exactly ruly. And these cats doubtless thought they were property owners. My family cat always thought she owned the place and she didn’t have a $6,000 TRUMP PLAZA APARTMENT FOR HERSELF AND A FEW INTIMATE CAT FRIENDS.

8) This would come in very handy if he were trying to confuse Sir Roderick Glossop into thinking he was not right in the head.

9) The fact that the only person in literature to have an apartment full of cats is a character in a P.G. Wodehouse story tells you how COMPLETELY REMOVED FROM REALITY this idea is usually located.

10) Seriously, what amount of money do you have to have in order that you sit down and say to yourself, “No, no, I won’t invest this. I want an apartment for my cats.”

11) I always think that the 1 percent and even the 0.01 percent are just like us, deep down, just with more silver spoons, more lacquer tables and the occasional butler. But this — this is some Gatsby-level nonsense. “I am going to get a $6,000 apartment for my cats” is the sentence right after “I’m going to throw constant parties with fireworks and own a pink suit” and right before “and I shall build an organ and get a man named Klipspringer to sleep inside it.”

11) What.
(Personally, I would have done this last one "12) What?," but as they might say at the FIFA clubhouse in Switzerland, "Chacun à son goût.")

Now can we look forward to the end of soccer -- by, say, July? Let the boys and girls finish up any games they really feel it necessary to play, and then get on with it. Just as if the whole bloody thing had never happened.

FRIDAY UPDATE: Sepp Blatter elected to fifth term as FIFA supremo

If you really want to see it, you can watch here.

The Washington Post's Brian Murphy reports: "The embattled chief of world soccer hung onto his post Friday after a rival bowed out in an election that displayed the deep rifts inside the sport amid American-led allegations of widespread corruption among some of its top overseers."
[E]nough opposition was mounted to keep Blatter from getting the two-thirds majority needed among the 209 votes cast by delegates in Zurich — a result seen as a significant embarrassment for the 79-year-old president who has led the sport since 1998.

Blatter, who was expected to coast to an easy reelection before the scandal broke earlier this week, fell just short with 133 votes. His lone rival — a senior FIFA executive, Prince Ali bin al-Hussein of Jordan — received 73. The status of the remaining votes was not immediately clear.

Moments later, Hussein stepped aside to let Blatter win after sending the clear message of dissent.
If you haven't watched the John Oliver report above, you really should, to fully appreciate what a treasure FIFA has managed to hold onto in Sepp Blatter (whose jovial acquaintance we make at 7:55 of the clip) for another four years.

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