English football · Football administration · Football finances & business · Sociology & community · World football

FIFA – “The Family”


A summary of the voting at the FIFA Congress:

  • The FA’s move at the Fifa Congress on Wednesday was defeated by 172 votes to 17. The Scottish FA was the only association to publicly back the FA. (It now appears that Vietnam voted for the FA motion by mistake – so it should have been 173 votes to 16).
  • Blatter was re-elected after receiving 186 of the 203 votes cast to remain in charge until 2015.

One thing to come out of all of this:

Fifa president Sepp Blatter has announced that World Cup host countries will in future be chosen by a vote of all the 208 member associations.

Until now, Fifa’s 24-man executive committee has made the choice.

But the controversy surrounding the decision to award Russia the 2018 tournament and Qatar the 2022 event has prompted a change.

“I want to give more power to the national associations,” said Blatter, who was re-elected on Wednesday.

More scope for corruption then. 🙂

FIFA’s operations remain as opaque as ever.

I wouldn’t worry too much about Blatter seeking revenge against the English. It’s his final term, so he’ll be more interested in legacy issues, such as unveiling statues of himself in Haiti, Benin, Congo and Cyprus. 😉

Blatter won’t renege on his promise not to force the Home Nations to have single representation in FIFA – after all, it would affect Wales and Northern Ireland more than England, and they supported him through the recent episodes.

Also, going after the English might force the English to try to lead a breakaway, which risks further fractures in the fragile peace that will be cobbled together following the Congress.

It’s his heir apparent, Michel Platini that the English should be worried about. Platini has the old-fashionedl French disdain for the English, and is resentful of the money in the Premier LeagueWith no legal limit to the number of terms a FIFA President can serve, Platini will probably have a further 16 years to work on attacking English football.

In reply to:

… people like Saddam Hussein, Robert Mugabe, Kim Jong-Il and other despotic dictators would not even get 100% of the vote, just goes to show what FIFA is turning into ….

and

It’s like something out of North Korea!

The comparison with Kim Jong-Il and North Korea has been around for some time.

Yes indeed – FIFA congresses seem modelled on North Korea – or a Mafia family gathering – a celebration of the Dear Leader, or the Boss of Bosses. How Blatter’s ‘family’ ticks the boxes that define Organised Crime – and the money that lubricates the FIFA machine. The worries of football fans are never heard.

Personally, I prefer the Mafia analogy. The FIFA establishment love referring to themselves as a “family”, and with a looser hierarchy and relationships, it has more in common with the Mafia than a totalitarian state.

The most brutal attack came from the long standing Fifa vice president for Argentina, Julio Grondona. He used his address as head of Fifa’s finance committee to plead with the English to leave the Fifa family alone and criticised Bernstein for his intervention.

He added: “We always have attacks – mostly with lies and with the support of journalism which is more busy lying than telling the truth.”

Julio Grondona, Blatter’s No. 2, has served the role of pit bull.

Julio Grondona, president of the Argentina Football Association and senior Fifa vice-president, launched a stinging attack on the FA this week, describing the English as “pirates” having previously told the 2018 bid team to return the Falkland Islands if they wanted his vote.

He is more infamous for the following:

‘I do not believe a Jew can ever be a referee at that level (Argentine Premier League) because it’s hard work and, you know, Jews don’t like hard work.’

FIFA senior vice-president and chair of Finance Committee, Julio Grondona, 5 July 2003. Buenos Aires

In Thursday’s Telegraph:

Maradona’s lawyers say they will launch a legal action for “slander, defamation and discrimination”, and accused Grondona of corruption.

The spat follows Maradona’s allegation that the Argentina team was offered stimulants – “speedy coffee” – before a crucial 1993 World Cup qualifier against Australia, and Grondona removed doping controls from the games to prevent positive tests.

Argentina won the two-legged play-off, but at the 1994 World Cup Maradona failed a drugs test.

25 years after the ‘Hand of God’, Maradona could turn around and help England get rid of its nemesis within FIFA.

Blatter has already shown he is prepared to sacrifice one crony within FIFA, Jack Warner, who was proving an embarassment. To further help paper over the cracks in the FIFA “family”, and prevent them from breaking out into fractures, he might have to be prepared to sacrifice another who is proving too embarassing.

The rule against “political” interference prevents or hinders governments from effectively cleaning up their domestic football associations, which allows FIFA’s system of patronage to continue unchecked, the bedrock of corruption within FIFA.

FIFA doesn’t understand governance, whether domestic or international. It’s not necessarily the same as politics.

Apart from Nigeria, the associations of Bosnia and Brunei have also been suspended. Also, the associations of Brunei Darussalam and Democratic Republic of Sao Tome and Principe were not eligible to vote at the recent FIFA congress.

I can’t say I am in a position to comment on the merits of the suspensions or the grounds for the ineligibility, but I believe that in several cases, it was due government interference. On the other hand, FIFA would never dare do the same to a more powerful country like England or France. However, by making sure their cronies remain in power in the vast majority of smaller nations, the FIFA establishment is guaranteed the vast majority of favourable votes.

On the other hand, there is nothing to stop FIFA from interfering politically with countries.

More. FIFA is a registered charity.

Fifa pays little tax in its home country of Switzerland. It also requires tax exemption in countries wishing to host a World Cup competition. “Any host country requires a comprehensive tax exemption to be given to Fifa and further parties involved in the hosting and staging of an event,” a Fifa spokesman told the BBC last year. The 2010 tournament – the most expensive yet – cost South Africa 33bn rand (£3bn; $4.86bn). But a “tax-free bubble” was established around the event at Fifa’s request, relieving Fifa, its subsidiaries, and foreign football associations of any obligation to pay income tax, customs duties or VAT.

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