Bob Casey Campaigning for FIFA to Kick Qatar to the Curb
As part of his effort to shed light on allegations of corruption in FIFA, the soccer world’s governing body, Sen. Bob Casey, D-Pa., appeared on the Men in Blazers podcast Wednesday to talk about an unreleased report on the bidding process surrounding the 2018 and 2022 World Cups.
“I think anyone would hope when you have an investigation like that, that it is on the public record so that anybody can see what the investigation yielded,” Casey said.
Casey wrote to FIFA president Sepp Blatter earlier this month asking for the release of the report, which was authored by former U.S. Attorney Mike Garcia, after Blatter said that FIFA would not release it.
“If anything, the latest actions raise even more questions about the voting for 2022 as well as 2018,” Casey said. “Obviously the U.S. has a vested interest, but even apart from that I think it is an issue of … great concern.
His comments come after he wrote to Blatter In June, calling on FIFA to strip the 2022 World Cup from Qatar because of allegations of harsh labor practices. The 2018 World Cup was awarded to Russia.
The U.S. bid to host both the 2018 and 2022 tournaments, and came in second behind Qatar for the 2022 cup. “I would argue from the U.S. perspective that we should be, as any country should be, the beneficiary of a fair process, but we also happen to have a track record from the ’94 World Cup and it was a success in terms of attendance and the fan experience was good,” Casey said on the podcast.
Men in Blazers is hosted by Michael Davies and Roger Bennett and had been a growing cult favorite among American soccer fans, but really broke through after numerous appearances during NBC’s coverage of the 2014 World Cup in Brazil. The hosts often cite soccer as America’s sport of the future (since 1972 ).
Asked how he explains FIFA and Blatter to his constituents, Casey responded “At some point in the history of Pennsylvania, I am sure we have run into similar personalities.”
Casey said that the 2014 World Cup had Congress spellbound, at least relative to previous cups, with the U.S. getting out of the “group of death” and losing to Belgium in extra time.
“It was great,” Casey said of the U.S. national team. “Here’s how good it was, you had members stopped in their tracks watching.”
Casey was also asked which is more true to reality, “House of Cards” or “Veep.” He responded that while he hasn’t seen Veep it nevertheless must be more accurate because “no one around here is…[as] interesting” as the characters in House of Cards.
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