In the space of a few minutes we saw the world of football hand down verdicts on a former England captain clearing him of racism charges and then to one its most storied clubs, devastating them with demotion to the lowest division for financial manipulation.
A brave, new world for the sport as it demanded accountability from its practitioners. But wait, here we have Sepp Blatter fingered in a cover up that saw millions of dollars funneled in bribes to his predecessor Joao Havelange and his son in law, Ricardo Teixeira, a FIFA executive, in exchange for awarding marketing and TV rights to ISL for the 2002 and 2006 World Cup and he admonishes those who say he needs to step down. No, he won’t step down.
Blatter willingly participated in these transactions through guilt by association. He has been identified as P1, the hitherto unnamed FIFA official who knew Havelange had received a 1m Swiss franc payment from ISL, which went bankrupt in 2001.
The FIFA president did nothing because as he says under Swiss law at that time, these payments were perfectly legal. In 2002, the government finally clamped down on these “commissions” calling them what they are, bribes, but in eight years from 1992 and 2001, the two men received almost 41m in Swiss francs. As prosecutors moved quickly thereafter, FIFA went on the offensive, urging the case be dropped and forced settlements by having Havelange and Teixeira repay a pittance from those millions. All of this came to light in the special prosecutors report which sheds light on FIFA’s baldfaced cover up.
The man governing the sport, who ran on reforming FIFA; is outed as the principal figure in aiding and abetting one of sports most shameful scandals, then basically thumbs his nose at the world. Blatter barely wears a codpiece now but he still shouts rules are for fools. In the real world, there are consequences as we have seen in the past few hours, but he has made a science of mocking them.