Thank heavens for alliteration, I say. In today’s crowded, tweeting, 24-hour news world, we don’t have to say “the leak of eleven million documents from the offices of law firm Mossack Fonseca”, but instead can save valuable milliseconds by referring to “the Panama Papers”. It’s the same with other financial snafus: not “the collapse of a centuries-old institution through the lack of oversight of a youthful employee in a distant yet seemingly profitable office”, but “Barings Bank”. And not “the dangers of allowing a small coterie of arrogant individuals to use a sporting association as their own personal piggy-bank while covering up for each other”, but “FIFA”.
This last is the story that just keeps on giving, isn’t it? It has even considerately linked up with the Panama Papers for us, with the revelation that the leak had turned up a contract for a television rights deal that the new – supposedly unblemished – head of FIFA, Gianni Infantino, co-signed in 2006, when he was general secretary of UEFA, with two businessmen who have since been accused by the FBI of bribery. Oh what a tangled web, etc. But FIFA was on my mind already, even pre-Panama, thanks to an “infographic” published by Sports Management Degree Hub, which seeks to provide information to students hoping to study in this field (boom boom). And it’s a cracker, this infographic entitled “World Cup of Fraud” – ideal for a bit of staff training on fraud, money laundering, corruption or any one of a raft of financial crimes. Because nowadays, if you say FIFA, people do not think of football or sporting glory or nations brought together by sporting endeavour: they think of grubby financial crime. There’s nothing for it: they’ll have to rename it. And Panama might like to give that some consideration too.
[I was looking at Panama’s Wikipedia page, trying – unsuccessfully – to find a witty alternative name to suggest, when I spotted that the country’s motto is Pro mundi beneficio – for the benefit of the world. Make of that what you will.]