UPDATE with video: John Oliver tonight, on HBO’s Last Week Tonight, begged World Cup sponsors to stop supporting the games in order to drive Sepp Blatter out of office if the United States government does not indict him.
“To truly kill a snake you must kill its head, or, in this case, its asshole,” Oliver said, after spending about 10 minutes walking through the latest corruption scandals he says have “ruined the sport I love.”
If the U.S. government “keeps driving its investigation and actually finds something to indict him for, I don’t think you would understand how much that would mean for everyone on earth,” he told his studio audience and viewers at home.
The whole world’s opinion of America would change overnight, he promised. It would be the same, he explained as “if the Dutch somehow found a reason to extradite and lock up Donald Trump. You would think ‘Holy shit – the Dutch are awesome! What a country!’ That is what is on the table for you, America.
“And if you won’t do it, the last hope to get rid of him is in the hands of the only group even more powerful than world governments. Barring an indictment, the only people with the power to get rid of Sepp Blatter are FIFA sponsors – these companies,” he said, as a graphic appeared on screen showing logos for Budweiser, McDonalds, Hyundai, Kia, Adidas, Coca Cola and Visa.
Then Oliver made a personal plea to these sponsors: “Please, make Sepp Blatter go away. I will do anything. Adidas, I will wear one of your ugly shoes that make me look like the Greek god of aspiring DJs. McDonalds, I will take a bite out of every item on your dollar menu, which tastes like normal food that was cursed by a vindictive wizard. And I will even make the ultimate sacrifice. Budweiser, if you pull your support and help get rid of Blatter, I will…personally drink one of your disgusting items…It can be a Bud Light. I will even drink a Bud Light Lime, despite the fact that all the lime in the world cannot disguise the fact that this tastes like a puddle beneath a Long John Silver’s dumpster.
“But I will do it. I will drink one, making eye contact with the camera, and I will say it was delicious. Because if you get rid of the Swiss demon who has ruined the sport I love, this stuff will taste like fucking champagne.”
His plea came one day after Blatter, bolstered by his re-election on Friday as soccer association FIFA president, appeared considerably more confident at his post-election victory press conference than he had been after Swiss police raided the organization’s favorite hotel in Zurich on Wednesday. Blatter dismissed suggestions that U.S. Justice Department investigators could come knocking on his door. “Arrested for what? Next question,” he said.
On Friday, Blatter won his fifth election, despite widespread calls for his resignation from outside the organization and a U.S.-Swiss anti-corruption investigation that has rocked the world soccer body. The 17-year leader of the group easily defeated reformist challenger Jordan’s Prince Ali Bin Al Hussein. Many — including the UK’s Prime Minister David Cameron and UEFA president Michel Platini — had hoped a new leader would begin the process of reforming FIFA.
Prince Ali withdrew after the first round of voting during the FIFA congress in Zurich. The first round of balloting saw Blatter receive 133 votes to 73, with 140 needed to win. After those results were announced, Ali conceded before a second round of voting could be held in which Blatter would need a simple majority to win; Ali thanked those “brave enough” to vote for him.
What had already been a disputed election — Blatter backtracked on an earlier vow not to seek a fifth term — became a full-blown crisis when arrests were made by Swiss authorities, acting in cooperation with the U.S. Justice Department, on several serious corruption charges going back to the early 1990s. The charges include wire fraud, racketeering and money laundering, and involve suspicion of accepting bribes and kickbacks. A further Swiss investigation, announced Thursday, into the decisions to award Russia and Qatar the 2018 and 2022 World Cups, respectively, only served to heighten the sense of disarray surrounding Blatter and FIFA.
Almost exactly one year ago, John Oliver delivered the greatest FIFA takedown on his HBO show, in which he explained the “comically grotesque organization” to soccer non-fans, and explained how World Cup economics work for the hosting country:
“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.” He showed a couple clips of interviews on CNN and Al Jazeera, in which sports journalists said things like “bribery and FIFA go together like peanut butter and jelly.” Then Oliver showed a picture of the FIFA board room which is modeled on the war room from Dr. Strangelove, calling it the perfect illustration, “of an organization that does not give a shit what you think of them.”
Here’s how it went back then: