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13 Jul 2018

World Cup 2018: England's £50k sock fine shows money-hungry FIFA have not changed

REUTERS/Carl Recine

In the midst of the concluding stages of a thrilling, joyous World Cup, FIFA have provided a timely reminder of their underlying ridiculousness by slapping the English FA with a £50,000 fine for the incorrect wearing of socks.

Dele Alli, Eric Dier, and Raheem Sterling were the guilty trio, now sure to return to England in disgrace, after top investigative work found them wearing Devonian brand Trusox over their official Nike garments. 

The three were well aware of their crime - 'breaching media and marketing regulations and the FIFA equipment regulations' - and had ignored a previous warning about their behaviour. 

Socks, energy drinks and thrown bananas

The fine dwarfs the £22,500 fine handed to the Russian Football Union earlier this year after FIFA carried out 'all necessary measures' in the wake of racist chanting aimed at France's black players, including Manchester United's Paul Pogba and Chelsea's N'Golo Kante.

It is also more than the £44,750 fine handed to the Spanish Football Federation after racist abuse was directed towards England players during a 2004 friendly and more than the £0 the Croatian Football Federation were fined after the Daily Telegraph found that FIFA had let fans off with a warning for the displaying of fascist flags during their run to the World Cup final despite having been fined for the same offence during Euro 2016.

REUTERS/Sergei Karpukhin

It represents another hefty slap on the wrist for the FA, who were forced to hand over £16,000 when an England U20 player was seen drinking Red Bull during last year's U20 World Cup in South Korea, showing a flagrant disregard for FIFA's partnership with Powerade.

Of course, FIFA are now in the business of finding something useful to do with their time, so small rule breaches of this nature could now incur hefty fines.

Two years ago, their anti-racism task force was disbanded having 'completely fulfilled its mission', news which was greeted with worldwide celebrations at the prospect of racism presumably having been eradicated from the sport.

Russia found to be racism-free

This has been confirmed over the course of the 2018 World Cup with fans and journalists largely unanimous in their decision that, actually, there are no problems with discriminatory behaviour in Russian football after all and that it was all just one big media conspiracy.

Andre Amougou was making it up. Antonio Geder was making it up. Andre Ayew was making it up. Ronald Zubar was making it up. Serge Branco was making it up. Peter Odemwingie was making it up. Roberto Carlos was making it up. Rhian Brewster was making it up. Christopher Samba was making it up. Yaya Toure was making it up. He's always liked a bit of drama, after all.

REUTERS/Sergei Karpukhin

With racism solved, FIFA will now likely move their hardline stance to other problem areas within the sport, though mainly the ones relating to marketing guidelines and things that could potentially prevent them from making money. 

Swiss Appraisal analysts predicted that FIFA's revenue from the Confederations Cup and World Cup would reach $6.4 billion, so this latest £50,000 will be a welcome boost to the famously cash-strapped organisation.

And if, with the TV cameras of the world turning away and the stadiums no longer packed with international fans, it turns out that actually, Russia does still have serious problems with racism in its football, then hey - fine them a few thousand and pat yourself on the back. Job done.

At least the racists have the decency to wear the right socks.

What are your thoughts about FIFA's role in this World Cup? Let us know by commenting below.