Who are you calling corrupt?

Sometimes, in trying to make the best of a bad situation, the human tendency is to declare victory and move on. Case in point: Nigeria, where the top officer of the organization that regulates pro soccer declared last week that it's OK for referees to accept bribes . "We are all aware of offers being made to [them] by ... team officials," Fanny Amun, the acting chief of the Nigerian Football Association, told a seminar of league commissioners and referees at the National Stadium in Abuja, the capital. "If such is advanced to you, accept it." Ah, but there's a big "if." Added Amun (who, despite the given name, is a he), "Referees should only pretend to fall for the bait." Translation: Go ahead and pocket the cash, but don't let it influence the way you call the game. Or, as he put it, "Do the right thing - do justice." But was he saying what the gathering wanted to hear? Apparently not. Reports say everyone was "stunned" and put up a protest - perhaps because the referees already are scapegoats for what critics say is the poor quality of the Nigerian game. Then there's the representative of the worldwide soccer governing body, FIFA, who waited until Amun was finished to tell the same people: "You should shun all form of bribery.... It would not make you grow."

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