Nothing's going right for FIFA.
Last year, the scandal-plagued world governing body of soccer financed a feel-good movie about its own history, titled "United Passions." Friday, the movie — starring 54-year-old Tim Roth, with a full head of hair, as the mostly bald 79-year-old FIFA President Sepp Blatter — finally opened in the U.S., part of a P.R. campaign to at least partly scrub its battered image.
It made $607 in the 10 theaters it played in across the U.S. on Friday and Saturday combined, according to The Hollywood Reporter.
These weren't small towns. The film opened in limited release in New York, Los Angeles, Washington, D.C., Phoenix, Kansas City, Miami, Minneapolis, Houston, Dallas and Philadelphia.
"United Passions" — which also stars Gerard Depardieu and Sam Neill — got an even worse reception from the critics. The New York Times on Friday reviewed it as "one of the most unwatchable films in recent memory, a dishonest bit of corporate-suite sanitizing that's no good even for laughs."
Blatter announced his resignation as FIFA president last week, just four days after he won re-election to fifth term despite the U.S. indictments of 14 top world soccer figures and multiple investigations of alleged bribery and chicanery in deciding which countries would host the World Cup.
Since then, testimony has emerged in which Chuck Blazer, a U.S. former FIFA vice president, said he was involved in bribes affecting the 1998 and 2010 World Cups; Irish soccer authorities said FIFA paid them more than $7 million not to go to court over Ireland's elimination from the 2010 World Cup on a referee's missed call; and the organization's independent auditor said the tournament could be taken away from Russia in 2018 and Qatar in 2022.
Then there's this: Saturday, the German newspaper Die Zeit reported that in 2000, as FIFA was deliberating over whom should host the 2006 World Cup — South Africa or Germany — the government of German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder gave Saudi Arabia a shipment of rocket-propelled grenades in exchange for its support for Germany.
Germany won the bidding. By one vote.