June 03, 2014

The Da Vinci Goal

I like a lot of things about this Telegraph article about how "Bill Clinton’s fury at [World Cup] vote triggered [a] global search for [the] truth [about how Qatar was awarded the 2022 tournament]." For a start I appreciate the suggestion that FIFA might take the World Cup away from Qatar and give it to another country that I might actually consider visiting.

But the thing I enjoy most is that the article itself reads like the opening chapter of a Dan Brown book:
Bill Clinton looked anything but happy as he strode into the Savoy Baur en Ville hotel in Zurich in December 2010. The receptionists could tell he was irritated, but had no idea just how angry he was.

After closing the door to his suite, he reached for an ornament on a table and threw it at a wall mirror in a fit of rage, shattering the glass.

The former US president, who had spent two years travelling the world glad-handing members of football’s governing body, Fifa, could not believe America’s bid to host the 2022 World Cup had been beaten by, of all places, Qatar.

Mr Clinton, the honorary chairman of the US bid, had wheeled out such big-hitters as Brad Pitt, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Morgan Freeman and Spike Lee to add lustre to the US Soccer Federation bid. Australia and Japan’s bids had seemed the biggest threat, but few had seriously entertained the idea that Qatar, a footballing desert, could win.


In a modestly furnished office in the Nikita Towers, the tallest building in the second-largest city in the Philippines, Sepp Blatter, the eighth president of FIFA, looked at the newspaper with a thinly disguised expression of pure terror.

It had been nearly seven months since he had first encountered Clinton, during one of the former president's much ballyhooed PR junkets, and yet even now the animal instincts triggered by that first meeting chilled Blatter's blood.

Clinton had passed Blatter in the corridor that day, his charcoal grey Armani suit scented with a delicate yet masculine perfume and swishing sophisticatedly as he walked, and with his eyes had sent an unmistakable message: "cross me," that message had read, "and I will make you pay."

And now, it seemed, that day had come. Clinton wasn't just furious. He was destroying hotel suites in his wake, leaking the details to journalists, and sending an unmistakable message: "I know what's happened here, Blatter," that message read, "and I won't rest until justice has been done."


In the hallowed halls of the United States Senate, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton had returned to her old stomping grounds. With a knowing smile, she strode decisively through the chambers where she had first cut her teeth as a United States senator. How desperate she had been then, she remembered now, to put her past legacy as the First Lady of the United States behind her.

Suddenly, she felt an unmistakable buzzing in the pocket of her slacks, and reached into it for to grab her cellular phone. She looked at the screen, and read the name there with a gasp.



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