So, cowardice and avarice win out again at another Fifa election. Sepp coasts over the line with support from his allies in the football power houses of Monserrat, Tonga and Papua New Guinea. How did Blatter manage to manage to get re-elected? He is a misogynistic, ego maniac who is completely out of touch with the general public. This of course means that he ticks all the boxes required to lead a corporation. However, this anti Blatter sentiment seems new, it seems unprecedented or is everyone suffering from amnesia?
Does anyone in Ireland remember the last time people got this worked up about Sepp? Allow me to take you back to a moment in time 6 years ago. The events that follow were preceded by a game of soccer that took place on a wet Parisian evening. The Irish had apparently been subjected to the most egregious wrong ever to be suffered by any nation. Never ever in the history of the human race has anyone suffered such treatment. I’d like for you, for just one moment to think about the enormity of the situation. Imagine if you can the horror. The loss of a game because a chap chanced his arm. The Irish players accepted their fate, but it was the duty as citizens of this proud nation, for us to not let this injustice pass.
Our cracked nation, already broken, already betrayed, had plenty of anger and a surplus of blame to fire somewhere, because as much as the economic crisis wasn’t our fault, this sure as shit wasn’t either. Oh no no no. So the nation cries out:
Cracked 1: ”This is the ref’s fault”
Cracked 2: ”No this is that Frenchie’s fault”
Cracked 3:”No, Wait”
Cracked 1:”Who are you?’
Cracked 3: ”Ah shite what’s his name… Fifi?’
”Yeah” they cry ”This is Fifa’s fault. We demand justice, the true supporter demands justice”
In times of true controversy a special type of chap comes to the fore. The olé olé chap, you know the type, the one that can at any moment, class themselves as true supporters.”Did you watch all the qualifiers?’ I asked one true supporter.”What? No. I just watched the 2nd leg of this match, heard the qualifiers were brutal. This injustice cannot stand”
As with any impressionable group of moonstruck lemmings the fever infected the country. Radio stations were inundated. Even poor innocent politicians were unexpectedly given sound bites: ”Fifa must listen to the Irish people…..and if we were in power there would have been no recession……found with a donkey in his bed……he must resign immediately…..I’ve followed Shay Keane’s & Damien Cascarino’s careers very closely”
There was a huge ground swell; Get out of our way we want in the World Cup, we want special dispensation. We want to be nation 33, even though that would not make a lick of sense. We want in. What can you say to that Blatter?
‘No’ said the greasy, arrogant, bald little man. ‘’Okey Dokey’’ said John Delaney and the FAI, who were given a €5 million rub on the head for being so good about it. The dignity of actual supporters and Irish teams past and present were drowned in a chortle spewed out by the most corrupt thing to come out of Switzerland since Nazi gold and that got to me: ”Wreck the place.’ I hear myself saying.
”Wreck where?’ say the true supporters.
”S’okay, we don’t have to. The righteous anger has been addressed and we can rest”
Utterly confused so I was. I had set my Swiss flag on fire and sent anthrax to the Toblerone factory and everything.
”We can rest because we now know that it’s his fault and we made him look mean and the six nations is on, so we like rugby now”
So there you have it. Nothing was achieved but, wasn’t it exciting! At least we have our moral perch to rest on. This perch is starting to buckle now though. We’ve been up here for so long, above the bankers, politicians & now Fifa. Coo coo. Poo poo on you.
One wonders what the residents of Blikkiesdorp have made of the latest Blatter hate-fest. Where’s Blikkiesdorp you ask? Well, Blikkiesdorp is a lovely little ‘settlement’ in the Cape Town firmament that can thank Fifa for its existence. In the run up to the 2010 World Cup, township residents were relocated to a hastily built camp on a temporary basis after their unsightly dwellings were destroyed. According to residents, it boasts conditions similar to a concentration camp. It has dreadful sanitation, it’s overcrowded and has consistent water supply issues. Post World Cup, only 33 of the 650 families have been moved out of Blikkiesdorp and into new housing. What a legacy. Dankie Fifa.
The accounting firm, Grant Thornton who were employed by Fifa to add their ‘credibility’ to the fold, advised that the South African economy should expect at least £1.3 billion in revenue for those six weeks. In fact they recouped just £323 million, so with a deficit of roughly £2.7 billion, I doubt that the concerns of the Blikkiesdorp residents are at the forefront of their thoughts and I doubt they give a toss about our moral outrage at Sepp. Post 2010 World Cup, Fifa posted profits of £1.2 billion. Grant Thornton boasted profits of £380 million. So where did the rest of the money go? Simple really. Fifa affiliates such as Budweiser and McDonalds were allowed to create exclusion zones in the vicinity of all the newly built, publicly funded football stadia. These exclusion zones prohibited local traders from operating anywhere near the lucrative footfall.
After his latest success, Sepp will now placate the masses by distancing himself from the bad apples and espousing a new transparent Fifa, which may make Lennart Johansson bristle slightly. It was Johansson’s promises of transparency that cost him the Fifa presidency in 1998. Transparency would have let the corrupt genie out of the bottle and the delegates went with their buddy Blatter, but not until he had already made promises of football academies to Trinidad and offered friendlies with Brazil to anyone that wanted them. Ricardo Teixeira, the President of the Brazilian FA and Blatter’s best bud, had no qualms in whoring out his Brazilian team. It has now emerged that the Brazil national side are also owned by third parties who pick the team purely based on commercial interests. If you don’t pay you don’t get Neymar and so on.
Never before has there been such a spotlight shone on the inner workings of Fifa. People like Andrew Jennings have tried before and have produced extraordinary work, but he was only a sports journalist. It was always going to take the razzmatazz of the FBI to pique everyone’s interest. The FBI have managed to get at the former Fifa executive committee member, Chuck Blazer and turn him into a super grass. His testimony over the next few years, if he lasts that long, will be interesting. So now the pressure is on Sepp like never before and there is now an opportunistic queue lining up to stick the boot in. However, the dissenting voices must be taken with a grain of salt. Many have had opportunities to run against him in the past, but most seemed to be happy just to stare down at their shoes when the English FA tried to rally the troops. Most recently, Michel Platini backed out of running against Blatter for reasons only known to him. Perhaps it might have something to do with the fate of Blatter’s last opponent. Mohammed Bin Hammam was a long-time ally of Blatter but decided to run against him in 2011. In that very year Bin Hammam was banned for life by Fifa because of financial irregularities. What was even more useful to Blatter was that it was the English media that brought him down. He got to kill two birds with one stone. Blatter was in a position to punish the English FA who are constantly trying to thwart him. For not controlling their media, Blatter awarded the 2018 World Cup to Russia instead and after Sochi, we all know how much the Russians love an expensive project.
Blatter is merely the smackable face of an endemically corrupt organisation. He will not be implicated in the FBI investigation because he lives an astonishing lifestyle legally paid for by Fifa. He is treated like a visiting statesman wherever he goes which precludes him for paying for anything. Blatter will publicly lambaste those involved in scandal and banish them, but their actions have not taken place in a vacuum. The relationship between Fifa, their sponsors and governments is nebulous to say the least. It is doubtful that this is a thread that anyone wants to pull on too hard. Some people will be fired, we’ll get excited, Sepp will retire, we’ll get excited and someone else from within a corrupt organisation will take his place and we wont care.