In a year of odd moves, FIFA and Al Capone become neighbors
Fred Lief (Associated Press) - December 30, 2015 - 3:22am
All across Europe and the Americas — as they plot legal strategy, await extradition hearings and consider the billable hours run up by their lawyers — FIFA officials can take comfort in this: They are serving the cause of art.
 
The Mob Museum in Las Vegas opened a wing this year highlighting the alleged crimes and misdemeanors of soccer's governing body. The exhibit is titled "The 'Beautiful Game' Turns Ugly."
 
US and Swiss authorities have cast a wide net, with 14 soccer officials and sports marketers charged in May with "rampant, systematic and deep-rooted" corruption. By year's end, dozens were charged and FIFA President Sepp Blatter and European soccer leader Michel Platini were banned from the sport for eight years.
 
The FIFA exhibit is a short kick from space occupied by Al Capone and his machine-gun trappings. It consists mostly of newspaper clippings — a "FIFA Nostra" headline from a French paper is one example — photos and videos. Among those noted is Jack Warner, a former FIFA vice president under indictment who once cited as fact an article in the satirical "The Onion" that the United States was awarded a World Cup in 2015 (a non-World Cup year).
 
The soccer display was designed to give museum-goers a sense of what organized crime in the 21st century may look like. Geoff Schumacher, the museum's content director, says visitors need to look beyond mobsters of yore.
 
"You don't have Lucky Luciano or Meyer Lansky," he says. "These are not household names today."
 
The Mob Museum was not the only back road sports wandered down. This was also a year in which Serena Williams, in need of a little pick-me-up after losing the first set 6-0 in an Australian Open tuneup, requested a cup of espresso on the court; the Kansas State marching band was fined $5,000 for mocking its rival Jayhawk mascot with what appeared to be a phallic formation.
 
Bridge fans were slammed by a British court, which upheld a ruling that the card game is not a sport; and Canadian hockey gold medalist Meaghan Mikkelson and her husband took to Twitter for baby-name suggestions and, rest assured, did not choose Zamboni. (The winning name, however, was true to hockey — Calder.)

AL CAPONE AUSTRALIAN OPEN BEAUTIFUL GAME DIV EUROPE AND THE AMERICAS GEOFF SCHUMACHER JACK WARNER KANSAS STATE MOB MUSEUM QUOT WORLD CUP
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