No sympathy for the devil this time!
Joseph Blatter is standing for re-election to be president of FIFA in 2007. It would be the worst thing that would befall the world of football if Blatter is re-elected. Joseph Blatter is not a football visionary, he is a quintessential politician. The reason that South Africa was blessed by Sepp Blatter as the next host for the World Cup, is not because he believes that Africa is where the future of football is, or if this is a chance to showcase the new Africa, with its new democracies in the post-colonial world. It is a cheap ploy to get votes. The magnanimous Sepp Blatter will be on display till the elections of 2007, where he will praise the federations of the Asian and African till the heavens fall, because these countries count for 57 votes. Once Blatter gets elected, if South Africa runs into problems hosting the 2010 World Cup, and the the whispering campaigns begin, look for Blatter to pull the plug on South Africa, all the while looking for the best deal that will benefit him politically and financially.
This is the real Sepp Blatter, in an interview with the Brazilian magazine Placar, in 1995, when he was still Joao Havelange’s protege. On being asked by the journalist on the formation of an international players union, Blatter responded, ” FIFA does not deal with players.They are employees of the club.” Or when Diego Maradona asked why international labor rights did not apply to football players, Blatter contemptuously replied, ” The last star from Argentina was Di Stefano.” Blatter himself was the center of controvery when he became the president in 2002 with direct accusations of bribery made in the press by the Somali FA member Farra Ado, who claimed to have been offered $100,000 to vote for Blatter. This is nothing compared to what Blatter did when he lied that the collapse of sports marketing giants ISL, FIFA’s partner, amounted to nothing more than a loss of £22million. In fact, it is now more than likely that the losses were closer to to £230m. Swiss authorities are now investigating to see whether the ISL liquidator Thomas Bauer, was bribed for not pursuing black money trails of FIFA officials. The 2.5 million Swiss francs bribe seems to have originated from the office of Jean Marie Weber, ISL official, and close confidante of Sepp Blatter.
A little story of how Sepp Blatter solicits votes. In the 2002 elections, Blatter’s head was on the chopping block. The European and Asian counties were ready to fire him from the post of president because of the ISl fiasco. Enter, Jack Warner, the powerful Trinidadian president of the Caribbean and North American council, that accounts for 37 votes in FIFA. Warner was a Blatter loyalist, and those 37 votes were usually reliable Blatter votes. However, this time he was very unhappy because his previous arrangement with FIFA where he was awarded TV rights for a nominal $1 and then selling them for hundreds and thusands of dollars as a perk for his votes had come to an end because ISL had acquired those TV rights and had sold them to Trini entrepreneur Selby Brown and the Caribbean Sports TV Network. Jack Warner was livid and threatened to withhold his 37 votes that were crucial to the beleaguered Baltter. In a secret e-mail, disclosed by Soccernet, Warner threatened his president: ‘Enough is enough… this will be the last time.’
Blatter denies that he did anything to help Warner. But soon after the angry e-mail the German media group Kirch took over ISL’s TV rights. The rights were renegotiated and shortly after Buenos Aires, Brown was stripped of his contract and Warner was awarded it instead.
This is the Blatter that we should know about. In fact, there is so much more, that it seems that Blatter runs not an organization called FIFA, it is a fifa-dom (pun absolutely and implacably intended). Sepp Blatter in his years had made very little effort to improve the game and every effort to consolidate his power.