After FIFA Messes with U.S. World Cup Bid, FBI Hits Back

It was when FIFA awarded the 2022 World Cup to Qatar — a country that could reach 140 degrees Fahrenheit during match play — red flags went up in the American legal system.

As Americans, we only care about soccer so much. But we do care about hosting the world's most popular sporting tournament — a lot.


There is little doubt that laws against corruption and bribery have been violated by the international soccer organization FIFA. One of professional sports' worst kept secrets is that FIFA executives regularly accepted cash in exchange for television and merchandizing rights to international soccer matches.

The Justice Department's own legal briefs, unsealed after the FBI arrested several FIFA officials yesterday in Switzerland's high-end resort Baur au Lac, document a 24-year history of shady financial dealings amounting to $150 million.

It was when FIFA awarded the 2022 World Cup to Qatar — a country that could reach 120 degrees Fahrenheit during match play — red flags went up in the American legal system. Of course, the US was also competing to host the World Cup in 2022, and Bill Clinton personally campaigned on America's behalf.

There was some symbolic justice when the FBI moved against FIFA members at the Baur au Lac, the same hotel where Bill Clinton allegedly smashed a mirror after losing the 2022 bid to Qatar. It seems that donating money to the Clinton Foundation was not apology enough for FIFA or the Qatar hosting committee.

Beyond sports fandom, lives are often at stake where World Cup games are hosted. The British newspaper The Guardian, for example, estimates that nearly 1,000 workers died in Qatar between 2012 and 2013 while constructing soccer stadiums for the games. This obviously would not have happened in the United States.

ABC news reports that bribes were also made on behalf of venues in the United States, not for the World Cup, but for the Copa América, which determines South America's soccer champion.

Allocating finite legal resources to enforce laws is always a difficult matter, but when it comes to getting pushed around, the US won't have it, and that's probably a good thing. If only other countries, particularly in Europe where football fandom rules, would stand up for their fans in a similar way.

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Scientists study tattooed corpses, find pigment in lymph nodes

It turns out, that tattoo ink can travel throughout your body and settle in lymph nodes.

17th August 1973: An American tattoo artist working on a client's shoulder. (Photo by F. Roy Kemp/BIPs/Getty Images)
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In the slightly macabre experiment to find out where tattoo ink travels to in the body, French and German researchers recently used synchrotron X-ray fluorescence in four "inked" human cadavers — as well as one without. The results of their 2017 study? Some of the tattoo ink apparently settled in lymph nodes.


Image from the study.

As the authors explain in the study — they hail from Ludwig Maximilian University of Munich, the European Synchrotron Radiation Facility, and the German Federal Institute for Risk Assessment — it would have been unethical to test this on live animals since those creatures would not be able to give permission to be tattooed.

Because of the prevalence of tattoos these days, the researchers wanted to find out if the ink could be harmful in some way.

"The increasing prevalence of tattoos provoked safety concerns with respect to particle distribution and effects inside the human body," they write.

It works like this: Since lymph nodes filter lymph, which is the fluid that carries white blood cells throughout the body in an effort to fight infections that are encountered, that is where some of the ink particles collect.

Image by authors of the study.

Titanium dioxide appears to be the thing that travels. It's a white tattoo ink pigment that's mixed with other colors all the time to control shades.

The study's authors will keep working on this in the meantime.

“In future experiments we will also look into the pigment and heavy metal burden of other, more distant internal organs and tissues in order to track any possible bio-distribution of tattoo ink ingredients throughout the body. The outcome of these investigations not only will be helpful in the assessment of the health risks associated with tattooing but also in the judgment of other exposures such as, e.g., the entrance of TiO2 nanoparticles present in cosmetics at the site of damaged skin."

Photo by Alina Grubnyak on Unsplash
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