Tuesday, May 31, 2011

FIFA - the castle crumbles

The goings-on at FIFA, the headquarters of world football, are beyond parody. As I write this, Sepp Blatter is due to be elected unopposed for another four years, with his only rival, Mohamed Bin Hammam, suspended pending an investigation of bribery allegations. Jack Warner, the longest-serving member of the executive, has also been suspended, and is now threatening to make allegations against Blatter himself.

Asked about the FIFA crisis at yesterday's press conference, Blatter said “What is a crisis? Football is not in a crisis. When you see the final of the Champions League then you must applaud. So we are not in a crisis, we are only in some difficulties.” Clearly he'd either been listening to Supertramp's fourth album, or the (alleged) remarks of Labour PM Jim Callaghan in 1979 (though Callaghan never uttered those precise words). Whatever the "inspiration" for his words, Blatter's stonewalling and denial of reality is breathtaking. An Australian politician, Nick Xenophon, has compared him to Monty Python's Black Knight, laying on the ground, all limbs hacked off, saying "It's just a flesh wound"

Jack Warner has revealed an email to him from FIFA Secretary-General, Jerome Valcke, Here's an extract "For MBH, I never understood why he was running. If really he thought he had a chance or just being an extreme way to express much he does not like anymore JSB. Or he thought you can buy FIFA as they bought the WC." (MBH is Mohamed Bin Hammam, and WC is the World Cup).

But now we could be seeing the end game. Fifa’s major sponsors Coca-Cola and Adidas have become nervous, and are calling the position at FIFA “damaging and distressing”. Perhaps Sepp Blatter should give Tiger Woods a call to find out how to react to sponsors closing their wallets and looking for the exit door.

The castle is crumbling, but the king has his fingers in his ears and is singing "ni-ni-ni"

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