Blatter Refused Ideas For Transparency, Including Likening FIFA To A Sovereign State When Rejecting A Call For Independent Executive Committee Members
“If he’s comparing himself to a sovereign state instead of the non-profit that FIFA is we’ve got real obstacles here.” – Alexandra Wrage.
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NEW YORK (June 3, 2015) – FIFA President Sepp Blatter has been called a Mafia Don for the way he ran the international soccer organization whose top executives are now under U.S. indictment for corruption. Blatter earned that reputation, says a former member of FIFA’s International Governance Committee, with his arrogant words and behavior that she saw first-hand and caused her to resign in disgust. The former IGC member and anti-corruption specialist Alexandra Wrage, speaks with Armen Keteyian on the next edition of 60 MINUTES SPORTS, premiering tonight, June 3 at 9 p.m. ET/PT on SHOWTIME.
Blatter’s public comments seemed to play right into “The Godfather” metaphors says Wrage, “Mr. Blatter himself has used comments about ‘the football family’ and keeping it inside the family,” she tells Keteyian. “A recent quote when he said that he can forgive but he never forgets, it’s almost as if he is playing to that theme himself.”
FIFA, looking to quell increasing amounts of criticism, set up the IGC a few years ago to help reform the organization. But Wrage says Blatter rejected a basic idea embraced by most corporations. She says the FIFA president made an imperious comment when she made a suggestion to add a few independent members to his executive committee to create transparency. “When I made that suggestion directly to him, his response was–noting that I am Canadian–that if the Canadian parliament wouldn’t have independent advisors then FIFA shouldn’t either.
“And I thought, ‘If he’s comparing himself to a sovereign state instead of the non-profit that FIFA is we’ve got real obstacles here.’”
Wrage says she resigned in disgust. “There was really clear evidence in my mind that we were just going to be used as window dressing…One of the last comments I heard on the day that I resigned was that perhaps we could be configured as an IGC-lite,” she recalls. “Really for me…that was the final straw.”
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WHO NEEDS 1,500 PAIRS OF SHOES? “PECAS” DOES FOR ONE, AND SPORTS STARS CC SABATHIA AND VICTOR CRUZ AREN’T FAR BEHIND – MEET THE “SNEAKERHEAD” ROYALTY ON THE NEXT EDITION OF “60 MINUTES SPORTS”
THIS WEDNESDAY AT 9 P.M. ET/PT ON SHOWTIME®
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NEW YORK (June 2, 2015) – They spend hundreds, sometimes thousands of dollars on their precious shoes. They will wait overnight in lines to purchase new editions. They trade them; they resell them at a profit. They just have to have them. Who and what drives these “sneakerheads” in their seemingly obsessive hobby? As Pam Oliver finds out, it’s sneakerhead royalty like Yankee pitcher CC Sabathia and the Giants’ wide receiver Victor Cruz. It’s also a shoe hoarder who straddles the hip-hop and pro sports world who goes by the nickname “Pecas,” who may be the king of sneakerheads with 1,500 pairs. Go inside this glitzy, trendy corner of the multi-billion dollar sports shoe industry on the next edition of 60 MINUTES SPORTS this Wednesday at 9 p.m. ET/PT only on SHOWTIME.
The “sneakerhead” trend was born out of the fascination with expensive Air Jordan shoes from Nike and the hip-hop crowd who became high profile models for them. Nowadays it’s special editions, game-worn shoes, autographed shoes and more, driving an interest among collectors in what used to be just a pair of sneakers.
Shawn Costner, known as “Pecas” –“freckles” in Spanish – came from the hip-hop world and now works for Jay Z’s sports agency. It’s a perfect pedigree for his sneaker obsession, something he began as a boy in Brooklyn, N.Y. It’s an influential urban culture he describes in the urban parlance. “Whatever the urban kids are wearing …whatever they say is the next flyest thing, that’s what’ll be the next fly thing…You want to have the fly stuff. You want to have the cool stuff. You just want to be fly,” he tells Oliver during an interview in his home, in which sports shoes can be found in nearly every room.
Manufacturers like Nike will send special shoes they produce to influencers like Pecas, who often can be seen with the likes of music star Rihanna. But sports stars drive even more interest in the sport shoe collecting world. As big influencers, they get sent free pairs, too. Some, like New York Giants’ Cruz – who owns hundreds of pairs — will still spend big money to buy more. Oliver went shopping with him when he spent $550 on a single pair.
“It’s not so much about the shoes. It’s about the stories,” says Cruz. He can afford as many as he wants now, but that wasn’t always the case. “A time from when I was younger… a pair that I could never get… the pair, my mother was, like, ‘You can’t have,’” he remembers with a laugh.
Sabathia keeps his huge collection in several large, glass-fronted closets with climate-control features. It’s a virtual Nike footwear museum. Oliver gets a tour from Sabathia and his wife, Amber. Says the Yankee ace, “I always wanted to be Jordan, and be a part of the brand… And to be able to put the brand on the field, it’s awesome,” he says. Asked by Oliver if she ever razzes her husband the way men give grief to women for their shoe-hoarding habits, Amber replies, “This is what he collects, this is his thing… he’s a sneakerhead.”
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