Ask Diego Maradona and he will spit in Sepp Blatter's eye when he so self servingly talks about players living in modern slavery. It is as laughable as Phil Gramm's dismissal of the dismal US economy as a 'mental recession'.
In Blatter's case, it is a total derailment of reality. Where was this champion of players rights when Maradona along with hundreds of other players were trying to establish the ground rules against exploitation?
Maradona got under the skin of Sepp Blatter with his demands for labour rights for players. Blatter, a suit, dismissed Maradona by saying "The last star from Argentina was Di Stefano."
Blatter on the same day he created a stir by siding with Ronaldo, a stance that the Man U star gratefully internalized by simply stating he was a slave, also reverted to type by undermining South Africa's preparations for the World Cup. Post apartheid SA cannot catch a break whereas a spoilt, petulant superstar who gets paid millions of pounds is supposedly a victim of an inherently unjust system. But it raises the question, who is the slave here? Isn't Blatter a creature of corporations and national federations?
Blatter's statement expressing doubts on SA's preparation came two days before a vote at the UNSC on imposing sanctions against Robert Mugabe's regime as Zimbabwe spirals into violence and anarchy. His surrogate also used the opportunity to express concern over the deteriorating conditions in Zimbabwe. It is clear that Blatter and FIFA are leveraging the unrest in a neighbouring country to create conditions in addition to national catastrophes that would enable them to move the World Cup to a different country. In short, Blatter threw red meat at European countries, especially Germany and England as well as Australia who in the past have stated their interest in hosting the World Cup should SA fail.
It is not a coincidence that the countries pointing fingers to tardiness in stadium construction and requisite infrastructure are also the ones most displeased with SA's stance towards Mugabe. They are also Blatter's biggest voting bloc essential to his become president. Greasing the palms of powerful office holders with bribes and ticket scams in exchange for their votes has long been a Sepp Blatter speciality.