The 2014 World Cup, which starts this week in Brazil, has shed a light on the horrific practices of FIFA, the governing body of international soccer. But for those of you who don’t follow soccer closely enough to know exactly what goes on behind the scenes, John Oliver has you covered. Oliver went on a hilarious rant during his HBO show, Last Week Tonight, that emphasized how FIFA is one of the most corrupt organizations in sports.
John Oliver compared his 2014 World Cup revelations to finding out how the sausage is made in a factory. The Brit revealed that he is excited for the international tournament, which only happens every four years. But he admitted that all of the scandal surrounding FIFA has somewhat tempered his enthusiasm.
“FIFA is a comically grotesque organization,” John Oliver said during his Last Week Tonight rant. “In fact, telling someone about the inner workings of FIFA for the first time is a bit like showing someone ‘Two Girls One Cup.’ You do it mainly so you can watch the horrified expression on people’s faces.
From there, John Oliver ranted about FIFA’s various illicit practices. For starters, while Brazil spent billions of dollars to host the 2014 World Cup, much of the money made from the tournament will go back to FIFA, not the nation’s government.
“Brazil, let me put this in terms you might understand,” John Oliver continued during his FIFA World Cup rant. “Think of money as pubic hair, and FIFA as wax. They’re going to be all over you during the World Cup, but when they go, they’re taking all the money with them, including some from places you didn’t even know you had any money.”
Other topics of conversation included FIFA’s $250 million tax exemption (“Somewhere, Wesley Snipes is going ‘So soccer was the answer’” Oliver quipped), and the organization’s insistence on selling alcohol in World Cup stadiums, even though this violated Brazilian law. FIFA even got Brazil to pass a so-called “Budweiser Bill” allowing for these new beer sales (Budweiser is a major sponsor of FIFA).
And, of course, John Oliver spent plenty of time talking about the corruption and bribery scandals within FIFA. Most recently, Sunday Times in England reported that former FIFA vice president Mohamed bin Hammam bribed several officials to vote for Qatar as host of the 2022 World Cup. Bin Hammam, himself a Qatari, was previously kicked out of FIFA following corruption charges.
Qatar shockingly won the World Cup bid, even though temperatures can reach up to 50 degrees Celsius (122 degrees Farenheit) during the summer, when the tournament takes place.
“You are hosting the World Cup somewhere where soccer cannot physically be played,” John Oliver continued. “That’s like if the NFL chose to host the Super Bowl in a lake.”
FIFA’s decision to put the World Cup in Qatar is also having deadly consequences. A March report from the International Trade Union Confederation concluded that 1,200 migrant workers have already died in Qatar while building infrastructure for the 2022 World Cup. That number could go up to 4,000 before the start of the tournament.
“The Qatar World Cup is shaping up to be the most deadly Middle East construction project since [the Egyptian pyramids,” John Oliver concluded in his FIFA rant.
Watch John Oliver’s full FIFA World Cup rant from Last Week Tonight below.