Culture

John Oliver Has Gleefully Recapped The FIFA Corruption Scandal For You

The "comically grotesque association" he destroyed last year is finally getting what it deserves.

FIFA was one of John Oliver’s very first targets when launching his now legendary show Last Week Tonight. In the lead-up to the 2014 World Cup — in what was only his sixth episode — Oliver took a full 13-minute timeslot to assassinate the “comically grotesque association” that was exploiting the sport he loves.

The segment, which now has more than 10 million views on YouTube, called attention to the ridiculous strain the organisation was putting on the host nation of Brazil, as well as the unbelievable absurdity of their choice for the 2022 World Cup, Qatar. It is, as he said, a small Arab country where construction is deadly due to the terrible safety standards and abuse of poorly-paid migrant workers — and good football is all but impossible there, as the temperature regularly reaches a legitimately hellish 50 degrees.

Though he may not have outright said it, throughout all this Oliver painted a pretty clear picture of corruption. He reasoned that the only way this country could have been chosen is if FIFA voters had taken bribes. He drew attention to the fact they are a non-profit organisation with $1 billion in “a reserve”. He pointed out that their headquarters’ boardroom is quite possibly modelled on the war room from Dr Strangelove.

Now, he’s been vindicated. This week the US produced a 164-page indictment of the organisation, and 14 top FIFA officials were extradited on charges of corruption. The FBI are suggesting there’s hard evidence of all the brazen profiteering, bribes, and general villainous vibes that Oliver was alluding to a full year ago, and the media have been giving him a lot of love for it since.

In last night’s episode, he issued his inevitably gleeful follow-up, and recapped all the utter madness that’s happened since:

From that, here are some more horrific facts to mull on:

– One of FIFA’s Chief Shady Dudes had a luxury apartment at Trump Towers for his fucking cat.

– The $260 million stadium in Brazil that was used for four World Cup games is now used exclusively to park buses. (“FIFA literally went into Brazil, paved paradise, and put up a parking lot.”)

–  1,200 migrant workers have already died doing pre-Cup construction in Qatar and the Trade Union Confederation estimate that that number will climb to 4,000 before the project’s complete.

– FIFA President Sepp Blatter was re-elected amidst all this. Two days after leaders of his organisation were arrested. And the reasons are just as dodgy as you may imagine.

Continuing on his crusade to save his favourite sport, Oliver’s now pleaded with FIFA’s sponsors to withdraw their support and oust Blatter. It’s a move which would be great for a number of reasons — an incredibly dodgy President would get what’s coming to him and the organisation’s hand would be forced into stopping some of these practices. It’d be incredible. And yet, part of me just wants it to happen so I can see John Oliver pridefully scoffing cheeseburgers and pouring dirty gutter beer in his mouth while dressed as “the Greek God of aspiring DJs”.

The man’s a genius.

Here’s his bit from last year in its full glory: