Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Thanks for nothing U.S. Soccer, you bunch of wusses

Last March, I joined a group of bloggers in posting about the need for US Soccer fans to put some pressure on the US Soccer Federation to put together a travel plan for fans who want to travel to Cuba to watch our Rattlers take on los Cubanos in World Cup qualifying later this year. Well, we finally have our answer from the USSF, and what a (hmmm, what is the proper blogger term here) completely flaccid, wussy, tepid, completely unbecoming of a major competitor nation sort of response it is. Follow the link or check it out here:

Men's National Team
Information Regarding Travel To Cuba

CHICAGO (July 14, 2008) - In the past few months, U.S. Soccer has received numerous inquires from U.S. fans that are interested in traveling to Cuba for the U.S. Men’s National Team’s 2010 FIFA World Cup qualifier on Sept. 6.

U.S. Soccer has been informed by the United States Department of Treasury (the United States Government agency of jurisdiction with respect to regulating travel to Cuba), that travel to Cuba for tourism or for the purposes of observing specific public performances, including sporting events, is prohibited under U.S. law.

While U.S. Soccer is unable to assist fans wishing to make the trip, the match will be shown live on ESPN2 and Galavision to provide our fans the chance to follow the team's continuing efforts to qualify for the 2010 FIFA World Cup.

You mean to tell me that the USSF, a non-profit organization set up for the EXPRESS PURPOSE of celebrating the UNITED STATES of AMERICA, is prohibited from organizing a group of American fans to go celebrate those self-same United States?! This is beyond stupid and is easily the most moronic sporting situation I have ever encountered.

Now, I know the USSF can just throw up their collective hands, point to the Treasury Department, and say "Hey, it isn't us. Them's the rules and they make the rules." But that would be just another capitulation showcasing a lack of imagination and guts.

Non-profit organizations make trips to Cuba all the time for a variety of reasons, and while I know that the embargo (the overall value of which is a discussion for another time and place) exists and has its rules, I also know that it is directed not at nonprofits, but rather at individuals who might spend money to enrich the targeted nation, in this case Cuba.

After all, US Soccer is already organizing, in the words of their release, travel "for the purposes of observing specific public performances, including sporting events." Or do they not plan on bringing anyone from the front office, including Sunil Gulati? If the USSF were to organize a fan trip just for the game and for the game only, to return at the conclusion of it, I fail to see how this would violate the terms of the embargo as listed in the USSF's "I didn't do it, it's them" release.


No comments: