Homer Simpson to be World Cup referee in episode about match fixing

Though Fox's World Cup broadcast rights don't begin until 2018, the network has decided to try and cash in on next summer's edition by sending The Simpsons to Brazil for the 2014 tournament. Though hijinx will surely ensue for the Springfield clan, they will also touch on a subject that isn't one of FIFA's favorites: match fixing.

From Fox's announcement:

Scheduled to air in March 2014, a themed episode of THE SIMPSONS inspired by the FIFA World Cup™ entitled “You Don’t Have to Live Like a Referee,” will feature Homer and his recruitment as a FIFA World Cup™ referee, after Lisa praises his integrity in a Springfield Elementary speech contest held on the youth soccer field. The episode follows Springfield’s most famous family as it journeys to Brazil, only to find Homer’s honesty put to the test by one of the slickest South American gangsters in the soccer match-bribing business.

That's not the only Simpsons/football tie-in, though. The network will also join forces with several of the world's biggest clubs to extend the show's legendary merchandising power to a new realm.

Soccer fans worldwide will be able to own a range of products with such participating club teams, including FC Barcelona, FC Zenit Saint Petersburg, Corinthians and Boca Juniors, that also feature THE SIMPSONS branding. Each participating team’s merchandise will also include never-before-created “Simpsonized” versions of its main roster, transformed into custom characters as part of the entire line of products.

Fox adds that "additional national and international soccer teams will sign on as part of this licensing partnership in the months ahead." The merchandise will be available sometime in 2014.

Homer Simpson has previously appeared in Nike's 2010 World Cup commercial with a Simpsonized Cristiano Ronaldo. The Brazillian Ronaldo also appeared in a 2007 episode that featured Homer as a referee in Lisa's youth league. We can only hope that Homer's advancement as a ref involves a Simpsonized Sepp Blatter being subjected to a Treehouse of Horrors type fate.

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Brooks Peck

is the editor of Dirty Tackle on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him or follow on Twitter!