English football · European football · Football administration · Sociology & community · World football

The Farce That Is FIFA

Blatter has been cleared by the Ethics Committee.

Bin Hammam not only withdraws his candidacy, but he has been suspended by the Ethics Committee. Jack Warner is also suspended.

Blatter is now unopposed.

The Ethis Committee moved quickly to clear Blatter before the elections on Wednesday.

Ethics chairman Claudio Sulser recused himself on Wednesday because he shares Swiss nationality with Blatter. The former international player passed sentences last November on FIFA executive members Amos Adamu and Reynald Temarii who got three- and one-year bans respectively after a probe into World Cup vote-selling.

Sunday’s hearing will be chaired by Sulser’s deputy, Namibian judge Petrus Damaseb.

Was there ever any doubt that a lap dog’s deputy would not be any less of a lap dog?

Blatter has been in power long enough to have his cronies do his dirty work for him, while keeping his hands relatively clean.

Bin Hammam unfortunately had to do his dirty work himself, and with so many Blatter cronies about, was always going to be exposed.

Blatter has been planning for this for some time. First, he moved against a potentially stronger opponent, South Korean magnate Dr. Chung Mong Joon, early in the year:

Blatter has been infuriated for the past decade by the independent-minded Korean FIFA vice-president Chung Mong-joon and his frequent threats to launch a challenge for the presidency.

Blatter has never had the courage to confront billionaire Chung, a member of the family controlling the Hyundai conglomerate. Now he has found his Trojan pony, an Arab princeling, and he’s running him at the congress of the Asian Football Confederation this week.

It smells like a deal done in the Doha souk. Blatter steered 2022 to Qatar – in return the gas-rich, money-no-object statelet does the ‘persuading’ to enlist enough votes to rid their benefactor of his pestilent adversary.

The wannabe FIFA veep is Prince Ali bin Al Hussein of Jordan. He’s 35, a Sandhurst-trained chap who appears to have been passed over for the chance to join other sporty royals at the International Olympic Committee.

The outcome:

Prince Ali won the election for the position of FIFA VP representing Asia (25 votes to 20 for his opponent Dr. Chung Mong Joon) at the AFC Congress that was held in Doha, Qatar on January 6, 2011.

Bin Hammam has now been destroyed, especially after the FA backed away from backing him, after having induced him to stand in the first place.

Jack Warner has become something of an embarassment to Blatter over the last couple of years, so Blatter is prepared to sacrifice him this time round. Chuck Blazer’s allegations limit the damage to Bin Hammam (who dared challenge Blatter) and Jack Warner (who has become expendable).

However, Lord Triesman’s allegations are quickly dismissed, as the collateral damage would have extended beyond Jack Warner, to Nicolas Leoz of Paraguay, Ricardo Teixeira of Brazil and Worawi Makudi of Thailand. Blatter can’t afford to lose more than one crony at a time.

His cronies now include Platini, who is clearly being groomed to succeed him. Repeated allegations of corruption are “small problems”? Platini is the new Blatter in the making, virtually guaranteeing himself the FIFA Presidency when Blatter retires in 4 years time:

Michel Platini, who served as one of Blatter’s key aides before becoming Uefa president in 2007, was expected to support the Swiss who has pledged that, if re-elected, he would step down in 2015.

The understanding appears to be that Platini won’t stand against Blatter this time round, and will instead support him, and in return, Blatter will back Platini to succeed him.

A usurper such Bin Hammam would upset the arrangement, and it is not only in Blatter’s interest, but Platini’s too, that his candidacy is destroyed.

Allegations of corruption are swept aside by motherhood statements such as the unity of global football family and the hackneyed reference to the beautiful game. Reference to the family is also favoured by the Mafia.

The Swiss authorities could investigate FIFA if they had the political will, but Switzerland benefits greatly from having FIFA based in the country and they’re not going to do anything that might undermine their relationship:

Sepp Blatter’s 1998 election to the presidency of FIFA over UEFA President Lennart Johansson occurred amidst much controversy. His 2002 candidacy has been marked with rumours of financial irregularities and backroom dealings, culminating with direct accusations of bribery, by a third party, made in the British press by Farra Ado, vice-president of the Confederation of African Football and president of the Somali Football Federation, who claimed to have been offered $100,000 to vote for Blatter in 1998.

Amidst internal divisions, FIFA’s secretary-general Blatter’s deputy and former protégé, Michel Zen-Ruffinen drew up a 30-page dossier outlining allegations of financial mismanagement within the organisation. The dossier alleged that the collapse of FIFA’s marketing partner ISL had led to losses of up to $100m under Blatter’s management. The allegations were backed by Johansson, and the dossier was handed to the Swiss authorities, but they cleared Blatter of any wrong doing and FIFA had to pay all the costs. An internal investigation within FIFA was halted by Blatter because members of it broke confidentiality agreements. This questionable behaviour led him to remove Zen-Ruffinen from office immediately before the FIFA World Cup 2002.

After all, this is the same government that for 75 years turned a blind eye to Nazis and other criminals hiding their wealth in their banks.

FIFA is now in a rush to elect Blatter unopposed before any other allegations turn up:

Fifa secretary general Jerome Valcke confirmed that Wednesday’s election would go ahead unless three-quarters of the 208 delegates voted to change the agenda.

It leaves Blatter clear to seek a fourth term in charge of the organisation, which he has run since 1998, unopposed.

“I am not Fifa, I can’t change the agenda,” Valcke said. “It is up to the delegates – they have the final say.”

“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 Fifa 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.

Valcke, another lap dog doing the bidding of his master.  When an incumbent relies on the structures of his office and the organization to substantially improve his prospects for re-election, it amounts to abuse of power, if not outright corruption.

In the meantime, more toothless talk from establishment figures:

Former International Olympic Committee vice-president Dick Pound has told the BBC that countries could form a breakaway association from Fifa if the current problems are not solved.


“If Fifa is not going to do the game any good, the game may have to do something to Fifa,” Pound told the BBC.

“You could withdraw from Fifa, for example, and say we’re not satisfied that the organisation is not being properly run and it isn’t a credit to the sport we know and love, so let’s have an alternative.

“That’s one possibility. It has been done in other sports.”


Minister for sport, Hugh Robertson, says Fifa is “losing the moral authority to govern world football” and adds that the forthcoming Fifa presidential election “will be extraordinarily difficult to hold”, with both Sepp Blatter and his opponent Mohamed bin Hammam facing allegations of corruption.

Again, more words than action. Talk about Sir Trevor Brooking sitting on the fence – the whole British establishment is sitting on its hands.

I hope not, but the more likely outcome:

(1) Blatter will be re-elected unopposed.
(2) Allegations against Blatter and his cronies will be swept under the carpet.
(3) Those who dare challenge Blatter will be destroyed, at least in the football world.
(4) Platini will continue in Blatter’s footsteps in four years’ time.
(5) Nothing will change.

Like I’ve said before, “More Farce Than Football, More Soap Than ‘Soccer'”.

Earlier related posts include:

(Based on contents of my post on Tony’s Non-League Forum. )


3 thoughts on “The Farce That Is FIFA

  1. More breaking news here. It’s so good I had to save a copy.

    The crux:

    Warner, who is president of the North, Central American and Caribbean confederation (Concacaf), has reacted angrily to the allegations of bribery and the Fifa ethics committee’s decision to suspend him.

    The Trinidad and Tobago government minister raged: “I look on the suspension as the worst form of justice by any sporting organisation.

    “They came premeditated, they weren’t prepared to listen, they were hand-picked to do a task and they did just that.

    “The guys were hand-picked by Blatter. A kangaroo court would be a decent thing to say.”

    Warner, who also turned on Valcke, stated: “I wrote to Valcke telling him, among other things, that the outcome of the [Fifa presidential] elections may cause some fracture in the Arab world which we can ill afford now and that I will like to ask Bin Hammam to withdraw from the race.

    “To which Jerome replied to me and I quote: ‘For MBH [Mohamad Bin Hammam], I never understood why he was running. If really he thought he had a chance or just being an extreme way to express how much he does not like anymore JSB [Joseph Sepp Blatter].

    “Or he thought you can buy Fifa as they [Qatar] bought the WC’.”

    Warner showed the e-mail to television crews and added: “You don’t have to believe me, you don’t have to like me, nobody has to eat with me, drink with me or sleep with me but Jesus Christ, take the truth when you see it.”

    Warner has also accused Blatter of making a gift of computers and an unauthorised $1m (£607,000) to Concacaf officials.

    “I indicated that at the Miami Concacaf Congress on 3 May Mr Blatter made a gift of $1m to Concacaf to spend as it deems fit,” Warner said in a statement.

    “This annoyed [Uefa] president Michel Platini who was present and he approached secretary general Jerome Valcke complaining that Mr Blatter had no permission from the finance committee to make this gift to which Jerome replied that he will find the money for Mr Blatter.

    “I also indicated Fifa, through Mr Blatter, organised gifts of laptops and projectors to all members of the Caribbean and no objections have been made today of this to date.”

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