What a shenanigans? The umbrella body and authority for World football leaps from one PR crisis to another. Media investigations suggest there has been something wrong but the ‘powers’ that be require alternative proof.
This Week Joseph S. Blatter stands unopposed to remain President of FIFA (Fédération Internationale de Football Association) for four more years. We (England) abstain but are in a meagre minority adopting this stance with Scotland our only neighbour apparently in agreement. Wales and Northern Ireland I understand, vote to re-elect him. The newly posted Vice-President, Jim Boyce, indicates a perceived ‘arrogance’ from the English. Maybe true – yet the Argentinean representative says he’ll only vote with the English when they hand over ownership of the Falklands Islands. Are these purely football decisions? I felt for the three lions heading our World Cup bid: Cameron, Beckham and the now Duke of Cambridge. Removing politics and the PM wouldn’t have made any difference to the outcome. Members of FIFA promised England votes and broke those promises, including allegedly the Turkish. Something isn’t right – and now Qatar 2022 is under review. They clearly spent money, and why not. I witnessed first-hand at Soccerex. But were all exchanges of money ethical. I believe we will find out.
Mr Blatter has made several high-profile social faux pas. Homophobia, sexism are two inappropriate comments we have witnessed from this leader. Glenn Hoddle’s discriminatory quip is another comparable I can recall. Blatter was formerly elected president of the World Society of Friends of Suspenders, an organisation which tried to stop women replacing suspender belts with pantyhose. What? In any other walk of life a figurehead would lose their job (as indeed Hoddle did). Surely any confirmation of financial wrong doing, bribery or corruption that ‘sticks’ will mean the end for this diminutive Swiss.
FIFA is in need of a massive overhaul. 186 votes out of 203 possible going for Mr Blatter smells wrong. The fundamental changes required includes: independent scrutiny, democracy in decisions, open governance, shared power and transparency in finance. These are the manifesto of the International Partnership for the Reform of FIFA.