Posts tagged ‘FIFA President’
Who said never mix sport and Politics?
There are certainly many sports administrators and politicians who have failed to heed such a warning and some have benefitted immensely from dappling in the sporting arena as a politician. Nelson Mandela used sport superbly to unite a fractured South Africa. Yet as we saw in London at the recent Olympic Games Prime Minister David Cameron was asked not to attend some events as the athletes felt he brought bad luck.
Certainly a lesson learned at the London Games is not to have politicians anywhere near the medal ceremonies, as many were booed as soon as their names were announced. Then again probably the biggest boo of the games was for FIFA President Sepp Blatter as he was rolled out to present the medals at the final of the Women’s football.
One man who appears to have cleverly looked to use sport to his political advantage is Scottish National Party leader Alex Salmond. Scotland’s First Minister has very cleverly timed the referendum on Scotland’s independence for Autumn 2014, a date that meant little to many. Yet it will be held shortly after Glasgow has hosted the Commonwealth Games.
Salmond is no doubt hoping that there will be a similar nationalistic fervour to the London Games and that will be what carries the vote. It could well be a political masterstroke, especially if Scotland can win a few medals.
It has been interesting to note how quickly many of the African nations have lined up to say that they accept FIFA President Sepp Blatter’s apology for his poor handling of the racism issue in the past few days.
Whereas it is commendable that they are quick to accept such an apology, is their forgiveness actually good for the game.
One also has to ask what has motivated such willing forgiveness?
Blatter returned to Africa with added financial incentives for all of the Confederation members when the election for President of FIFA became close and it looked as if Leonardt Johannsen might depose him.
His predecessor Joao Havelange also used Africa to gain power and used his ‘influence’ to have Blatter elected as his replacement.
Africa, benefitted from an extra position at the World Cup Finals, as well as the chance to host the Finals for the first time, so maybe they feel Blatter deserves their loyalty.
However it would be interesting to see how those they represent feel, the players and coaches in Africa.
There are times when loyalty can be misplaced.
There are many who believe that FIFA President is no longer fit to hold such a position and his comments overnight in relation to the charges laid by the English FA against Liverpool’s Luis Suarez, over his alleged racist comments towards Manchester United’s Patrice Evra during their 1-1 draw last month
Evra alleges that Suarez abused him in a racial way over ten times during the match.
Blatter has gone on the record as saying that players may say something on the pitch to another player, but ‘at the end of the match it is forgotten
He went onto say ‘on the field of play deny there is racism.’
Mr. Blatter obviously lives in the purest little world on earth, one with no racism and no corruption, its time he took his rose-tinted glasses off or simply employed a guide dog with a more realistic view of the world of football.
So Sepp Blatter has what he wanted, an election which sees him unopposed as he stands for another term as President of FIFA, despite dragging the game into the depths of humiliation. If the election goes ahead on Wednesday FIFA will become more of a laughing stock than it is already.
The suspension of Jack Warner comes as no surprise, and one feels that he has been sacrificed for being caught just once too often with his hand in the cookie jar. He must be sacrificed for Blatter to survive. Mohamed bin Hammam who decided to take Sepp Blatter on for the Presidency of FIFA was, if what some sources say is to be believed, was not clever enough in the back room manoeuvring and has paid the price of trying to fight ‘fire with fire.’ Had he carried out a ‘clean’ campaign who knows how close he would have got to the Presidency.
This public laundering of Football’s dirty washing is extremely damaging to the game, but appears to matter little to those sitting at the top table.
What is a little ironic is that Mr Blatter pushed for, with no explanation as to why, the announcement of two World Cup Hosting countries at the same time, as he believed that this would help him gain the votes required for a fourth four year term as President of FIFA. The unbelievable announcement that Qatar will host the 2022 World Cup has been his undoing as the arc of the spotlight became focussed on a much smaller group within FIFA.
There is no doubt that the elections should not take place on Wednesday and that an independent investigation be carried out, and not by FIFA’s very own ethics committee.
If the national bodies are truly representing the fans in their countries and around the world the 208 voting nations need to use their collective muscle and force the postponement of the meeting. They may never get a better chance to correct the listing ship that is FIFA.
Historically UEFA has never been fond of kowtowing to FIFA. Back in 1974 they were far from happy to lose control of the flagship to Joao Havelange, a Brazilian, so don’t be surprised if UEFA do not see this as a chance to regain control of the World game.
What is a concern is how so many nations have been noticeably quiet while the storm has been blowing through the game. One hopes that they remember who they represent and have the guts to do what is right, remember what FIFA supposedly stands for “For the Good of The game,” not “For the goods that we gain!”
English may not be FIFA President Sepp Blatter’s first language, but his reported comments during his visit to Johannesburg should be questioned by his colleagues as well as the football public.
Blatter was quoted in various media outlets as saying that FIFA’s ethics committee had “Adequately” dealt with six of its officials for improper conduct during the world cup bidding process. He also claimed that the latest unproven allegations did not constitute corruption, but when it comes to FIFA there is often no smoke without fire.
He was obviously feeling the heat as the fire may have been smouldering under his backside as he reportedly raised his voice and slammed his fist down on the table for emphasis.
“FIFA is not a corrupt organisation. If there is no proven evidence then it is not corruption.” He is quoted as saying, which many fans will find hard to swallow.
“Our Committee for ethics, they intervened in October in the matters of six people and they made the adequate investigation and the adequate decisions.”
The English Dictionary has two explanations for the word “adequate,” the first meaning: ‘enough -sufficient in quality or quantity to meet a need or qualify for something.’ The second is “just barely enough -just barely sufficient in quality or quantity to meet a need or qualify for something.”
Which makes one ask is “adequate” really sufficient? Or sufficently in as much as it satisfys certain people’s purposes?
If as reported overnight from Europe that a behind closed doors deal has been done whereby the AFC President, Mohamed Bin Hamman, who is contesting the FIFA Presidency with Mr Blatter steps aside in return for his country Qatar keeping the 2022 World Cup hosting rights, then we will know that Mr Blatter’s assurances are nothing more than hot air, and that ‘adequate’ is totally unacceptable.
Lord Triesman, the former FA and England 2018 World Cup bid Chairman has come out guns blazing in the Culture, Media and Sport Committee at the House of Commons in London. His accusations into the corruption surrounding the World Cup Hosting rights will not surprise many, but it is sure to make the upcoming FIFA elections all the more interesting.
Now eight of the 24 Executive Committee who gave World Cup Hosting rights to Russia in 2018 and Qatar in 2022 have been alleged or found guilty of impropriety.
Accusations include 1.5 million dollars being paid to FIFA Vice President Issa Hayatou from Cameroon and Jacques Anouma from Ivory Coast, who voted for Qatar.
Triesman gave evidence of “improper and unethical behaviour,” by serial FIFA bad boy Vice President Jack Warner who reportedly put his hand out for money to build an education centre in Trinidad, with cash to go through him, and money to buy Haiti World Cup TV rights, also to go through him. Mr Warner comes out badly in two books on corruption in FIFA – “How they stole the game” and “Foul” – and funding for similar ventures have not seen the facilities intended built.
Others accused include Nicolas Leoz from Paraguay, Woarawi Makudi of Thailand and Brazil’s Ricardo Teixeira – who happens to be related to former FIFA President Joao Havelange, the man who brought ‘commercialism’ to FIFA.
The Chairman of the committee which was looking into why England’s bid failed, and why they picked up no votes now plans to pressure FIFA President Sepp Blatter to launch an investigation. With a similar review about to get under way in Australia, it will be interesting to see if the two combine to try and apply pressure on the FIFA Executive.
It is now time that Ben Buckley and the FFA made public who they will be endorsing in the coming FIFA Elections, the public deserve this. It is time that Australia, who constantly goes on about its sense of fair play, stood tall and stated it will be abstaining unless doubts as to the legitimacy of the election process can be cleared. Maybe the Football public need to pressure the FFA into such a stance.
In SBS Television’s Les Murray, Australia has someone on the FIFA Ethics committee, and if he has the courage to stand tall and lift his head above the trenches he could put the icing on the cake of a career that has tried to lift the profile of the game in Australia. He owes it to the game and to Australian fans to stand up and ask questions. FIFA’s ethics have long been questionable, but now is the time for those with the power to put a stop to it.
Serious action needs to be taken similar to that taken by the International Olympic Committee following the corruption surrounding the awarding of the 2002 Winter Games.
Blatter who has allowed such corruption to exist on his watch as President of FIFA, while also being accused of it, needs to accept it is time to step aside. The ride is over, and it was an unbelievably good one. The person standing against him, Mohamed Bin Hamman should also step aside come the elections as of the nine countries who bid for hosting rights all of the current allegations are directed at one, his home, Qatar.
If there is any honour in FIFA both should withdraw. If Australia genuinely believes in fair play, and that they were wronged with their bid, it is time to stand tall, be counted and play a part in changing the history of the game.
There are many football Fans around the world who believe that FIFA supremo Sepp Blatter is slowing down, that he is not as sharp as he was when first elected to the Presidency. His gaff at the weekend would tend to reinforce those views, as once again he blotted his copy book.
Mr Blatter stated that Australia’s World Cup bid included proposed games in New Zealand, which implied that he had in fact failed to read the Bid Book. Mind you the book did contain 760 pages and included 20 chapters, but he did receive it back in May so could easily have read it on the plane to South Africa for this year’s World Cup.
The statement from Blatter made to French newspaper L’Equipe shows that he was only ever focussed on the bid from Qatar, which he publicly supported. To not know that Australia’s bid didn’t include New Zealand was either a barefaced lie to justify FIFA’s decision, or he quite simply never read the bid document. He advisors obviously did not read it either.
There are many who rightly question the decisions made at the top of the game’s World body FIFA. But this latest gaffe has increased the heat on FIFA and its President. Blatter has frequently bulldozed his own agendas and changed FIFA’s own regulations.
If as he said in the same interview, “I think it could be the same in Qatar and that some matches could take place in nearby countries” then it will mean that Qatar’s bid proposal is different from what is in fact going to be delivered and what the Executive Committee based their votes on. Many questioned why 2022 hosting rights were being voted upon now, and questions need to be asked if this is in fact the plan, to host games outside of Qatar, and if so then the voting should be declared void and a second vote take place. The Executive Committee are unlikely to push for such a decision, but the governing bodies around the world should, as it reflects poorly on the game as a whole.