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How Global Sporting Events Run On Bribes & Help Dictators

By Earwolf and Alex Schmidt

Soccer: it’s the sport the rest of the world calls “football”, despite how loud America yells otherwise. It’s also the global obsession that peaks every 4 years with a World Cup. This year’s Cup is about to start in Russia. 2026’s Cup is about to get awarded to the United States and Canada and Mexico, maybe. And everyone is abuzz about which of the perennial contenders (minus Italy, minus the Netherlands) will win it all. That passion for the game means big crowds, big glory, and big money. But did you know it also created the world's most brazen white collar criminal organization? And helps past and present autocrats keep their stranglehold on power?On this week’s episode of The Cracked Podcast, Alex Schmidt is joined by Dr. Natalie Koch (Maxwell School at Syracuse University) and by DeMorge Brown (Harmontown, Channel 101) to explore how soccer’s governing body became a secret Swiss crime family without most fans noticing. They’ll find insanely bold sports corruption everywhere from Qatar to Trump Tower. And you’ll discover how soccer, the Olympics, cycling, falconry, and more global sports take our planet’s politics in a weirdly dark direction while also bringing joy to our planet’s people.Footnotes: https://goo.gl/jZFKs6

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