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The real reason world soccer is cleaning up its act Add to ...

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The worst thing that could have happened to Sepp Blatter, the autocratic chief of world soccer, has been the sport’s rapid growth in the lucrative U.S. market.

That powerful lure has prompted major marketers and media companies to commit record sums to sponsorships and broadcast rights for soccer’s signature global tournament, the quadrennial World Cup, which kicks off Thursday in Brazil.

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