NEWSLINK: “How Russian Meddling Gave Us This Year’s World Cup; Long before anyone had heard of Christopher Steele or a “p[**] tape,” there was an investigation into FIFA corruption” – New York Times/Ken Bensinger

Men Sitting Around Long Oval Boardroom Table, File Photo of FIFA Officials Meeting with Vladmir Putin

“… In stark contrast to England, Russia appeared profoundly unqualified to host a monthlong tournament expected to draw well over three million spectators. For starters, Russia didn’t have a great soccer tradition; its team hadn’t even qualified to play in the 2010 World Cup in South Africa, thanks to an embarrassing loss to Slovenia. More important, it didn’t have adequate stadiums or other infrastructure, and since it was already going to host the 2014 Winter Olympics, there were serious questions about how it could afford to build what was required.  The International Federation of Association Football, or FIFA, the Swiss-based nonprofit that runs the World Cup and oversees world soccer, ultimately rated Russia’s bid riskiest for operational considerations among other contestants for the 2018 tournament. …”