Sepp Blatter is peeved that the English are not too happy with the results. Nor are the Australians, Spaniards, and the Americans.
“There is no systematic corruption in Fifa. That is nonsense. We are financially clean and clear.”
The Sunday Times and BBC’s Panorama has shown this to be a bald, shining lie. To say this with a straight face is to ignore the mountain of evidence that points to FIFA as a clearing house for backroom deals. The fact that Sepp Blatter has been around for 12 years as FIFA’s president is a testimony to the vote buying that goes on which is well documented by Andrew Jennings.
Blatter was the handpicked successor to the ultimate kingpin, João Havelange who ruled world football with an iron hand for 24 years. Havelange was the first president to realize football’s potential as a commodity. Under him, FIFA multiplied its profits prodigiously to unknowable extents as their balance sheets were deliberately kept opaque. A clique of favoured big moneyed monopolies were the beneficiaries of the new quid pro quo.
That hoarder mentality cultivated by Havelange and passed onto Blatter in a seamless manner makes these protestations hard to take. If Transparency International had to rate FIFA’s corruption it would rate somewhere between Nigeria at 2.4 and Russia at 2.1. That means highly corrupt.
“What can be wrong if we start football in regions where this sport demonstrates a potential which goes far beyond sport?”
An admirable vision. And if football is the global game, then the world’s biggest sporting spectacle should reflect the sport’s global aspirations. But is this globe trotting truly relying on a carefully thought out plan for the sport laying down roots and transforming that region into a force? Or is this a narrow attempt by Blatter to define his legacy or more expediently a move to curry favour with voting blocs within Asia and Africa instrumental in his re-election.
Blatter’s evangelism is the new mantra then countries without a chance should not blow big amounts of cash on expensive and ultimately useless bids.The big chill will be on Western Europe. They need not apply. Does Blatter then consider USA and Australia as having no room to grow? He mentions India and China, whose undoubted potential could facilitate their hosting a future World Cup. If that is the case then the 2026 World Cup bidders may look like nothing in the past.
England has every right to feel indignant that their carefully prepared bid which scored high in all its technical aspects merited just two votes. The rationale for shifting the World Cup is more to do with following the big money with few exceptions. Western Europe is going through a liquidity crunch and a myriad of watchdog organizations ensure 24 hour transparency.
Russia has a legitimate footballing legacy but the World Cp will be financed by its shadow economy where many can expect their palms to be greased. No questions asked. Qatar is a footballing non-entity. Even Iraq has done infinitely more with its cash strapped team. But the small country has made its fortune in oil and gas reserves that will last at least another 100 years. It’s ruling family has megalomaniacal aspirations to transform the country into a sporting power and it has the money to do so. They will have a football team ready by 2022 and it will be a group of naturalized Brazilians, Argentinians, and Nigerians.