Between his foundation, speaking engagements, and the various activities that go into being the former President of the United States of America, Bill Clinton’s time is a scarce commodity. When U.S. Soccer wanted to bring the World Cup back to the States, however, Clinton carved out enough time to serve as the face of the project, becoming the bid’s honorary chairmen while convincing celebrities like Brad Pitt, Morgan Freeman, and Spike Lee to do their part.
Perhaps that’s why Clinton was so mad when he found out all of his efforts went for naught. Reacting to FIFA’s Dec. 2010 decision to award the 2022 finals to Qatar, the former president reportedly took his frustration out on an unsuspecting hotel mirror, breaking the glass in anger in his Zurich hotel room.
Isn’t it always the innocent that get caught in the crossfire? From The Telegraph:
Bill Clinton looked anything but happy as he strode into the Savoy Baur en Ville hotel in Zurich in December 2010. The receptionists could tell he was irritated, but had no idea just how angry he was.
After closing the door to his suite, he reached for an ornament on a table and threw it at a wall mirror in a fit of rage, shattering the glass.
The former US president, who had spent two years travelling the world glad-handing members of football’s governing body, Fifa, could not believe America’s bid to host the 2022 World Cup had been beaten by, of all places, Qatar.
“Clinton was fuming,” said one well-placed source. “He felt humiliated and felt the decision did not make sense.”
You can just imagine the embarrassment. Here was one of the most powerful men in the world, who leveraged years of his life and connections built up over years in public service, trying to bring a sporting event to the U.S. This wasn’t negotiating Middle East peace or staring down the Chinese during trade talks. This is just soccer, yet when FIFA’s votes were counted, the former president was left on the wrong side of the result, having lost to the oldest enemy in the book.
At least, now it looks like Qatar won the vote through nefarious means, with FIFA investigating the extent to which former Asian confederation Mohammed Bin Hammam was able to, um, “incentivize” voters to write down his home country. The same suspicious we harbor now, Clinton surely had at the time, though as Yahoo’s Dirty Tackle notes, his reaction was more “composed” at the time:
“The FIFA people were in a mood to give it to people who didn’t have it. I think they wanted to make soccer a world sport,” he said the next day, according to the Wall Street Journal.
“They wanted to say, here’s a good non-terrorist, non-bigoted way of embracing — no really, I’m not trivializing this — a way to embrace the modernization attempt of the Middle East.”
Turns out, not so much. Not only did Qatar allegedly win its World Cup through good old fashion pocket-lining, but an innocent mirror lays shattered in its wake.
Which, of course, is one of the least meaningful consequences of this whole Qatar situation. In terms of Bill Clinton, though, it may be the most telling. It’s hard to imagine that the same man who played the saxophone for Arsenio launching a knick-knack at his bathroom wall.