Sometimes, an event occurs to make one wonder at the brass neck of those involved in it. I say sometimes, but these days what I tend to mean is, ‘far too often’.
Sepp Blatter has run a corrupt FIFA for nigh on fourteen years. Following last week’s BBC Panorama expose, Blatter had just the one opponent, Mohamed Bin Hammam, for yet another re-election. The Panorama evidence against Caribbean representative Jack Warner was so obvious, FIFA had to do something. Bin Hammam, in turn, had been shown grinning innanely at charges of massive payoffs in his favour.
So the FIFA ethics committee has decided there is a case to answer against Bin Hammam and Warner. But Blatter himself has been cleared of all charges.
FIFA’s ethics committee consists entirely of men placed by (and thus loyal to) Sepp Blatter. In one stroke they have made their mentor the only election candidate, and tainted his only opponent….who withdrew from the contest this morning.
Secretary general of FIFA Jerome Valcke told the BBC, “I don’t see what is wrong with this election with Mr Sepp Blatter. I think the most important thing is a commitment from all the members of the FFA ExCo with the president to support a change within FIFA, and in his last mandate make sure that Fifa is stronger and cleaner than it was.”
Quite why the man who made this outfit so grubby in the first place should be seen as a cleaning agent is completely beyond me. But that’s the nature of graft today: not only is there no shame, there is an unwritten assumption that both soccer fans and the media are completely stupid.
The huge disappointment for me in all this is Michel Platini. One of the greats of French total football in the 198os, his entry into FIFA seemed to me to be the dawning of a better age. But the Frenchman is content to sit there and watch those around him rip world football off, in the certain knowledge that, if he doesn’t rock the boat, he will get the nod on Blatter’s job in four years time. Given the extent of blatantly decadent greed in the upper echelons of FIFA, Platini should have the guts to say “Enough is enough”, and blow the whistle on his boss.