It is an unfortunate day when the officials of sporting institutions become more prominent than the sportsmen or the sports itself; it signifies that the sporting element of the institution has been overshadowed by the business elements. The corruption scandal that has rocked the footballing world has done much more than that; it has tarnished the world’s greatest sporting event, the FIFA World Cup, which, barely a year ago lit up the world with its exuberance in Brazil. As the pressure mounts on FIFA – 7 of whose top officials were arrested in Zurich by the Swiss authorities, while 14 have been indicted by the United States Department of Justice - the scandal is spiralling into the political domain; with president Putin backing Sepp Blather, the president of FIFA, for another term as president and belittling the joint US-Swiss investigation by saying “this is yet another blatant attempt [by the US] to extend its jurisdiction to other states”.

The breath of the allegations are staggering; kickbacks, fraud, money laundering, extortion, corruption and bribery all feature at the highest level - the most serious allegation being the manipulation of the 2018 and 2022 World Cup bidding procedure to award the highly lucrative event to Qatar and Russia. While the investigation is ongoing and Sepp Blather himself remains un-indicted, the upcoming events have already suffered setbacks. Key sponsors such as Adidas, Coca Cola and Visa may back out due to the bad publicity their brands receive. Segments are calling for a rebidding for the World Cup, a call that is going to get stronger if the allegations are proven; prompting a political showdown between the states calling for rebidding and those who have already won the bids – Russia and Qatar. The seeds of this crisis have already been sown. Large scale corporate crime has always been hard to police, but its negative effect on the world’s most popular sport makes the present culprits all the more culpable.