The Beautiful, Corrupt Game

Former UEFA head Michel Platini leaves a judicial police station where he was detained for questioning over the awarding of the 2022 World Cup soccer tournament in Nanterre, France, June 19, 2019. (Gonzalo Fuentes/Reuters)
Even after years of scandals and investigations, soccer’s parasitic executive class continues to tarnish the sport.

NRPLUS MEMBER ARTICLE ‘J ogo Bonito,” the Portuguese phrase Nike adopted as a marketing slogan in the build up to the 2006 FIFA World Cup, means “play beautifully.” The idea behind Nike’s multi-pronged ad campaign was to curb diving, faking, and bribery while promoting the beautiful aspects of the sport — professionalism, teamwork, integrity, skill. The great, retired French striker Eric Cantona was featured in some of the ads, reading from the “Manifesto Futbolista”: “Arguing is for politicians and diving is for swimmers.”

Aspirational words, to be sure — Cantona’s own checkered record of sportsmanship as a player made him a particularly odd choice to

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Marlo Safi is a Pittsburgh-based writer and a former Collegiate Network fellow with National Review.

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