Friday, June 3, 2011

Blatter Re-elected FIFA Prez

This past Wednesday FIFA President Sepp Blatter was re-elected to his office in an uncontested election that left the controversial chief executive of soccer's governing body, in charge for four more years.

It is a crying shame to have to shift our attention from the glorious spectacle of FC Barcelona winning the Champions League on the pitch, to having to deal with the scandalous machinations of Blatter and FIFA off the pitch.  There was a time when I thought Sepp Blatter was good for football, with this mantra of bringing the World Cup to new countries and all.  I was quite concerned when South Africa was announced as a host, but I was wrong and it came off beautifully.

However, I'm afraid that I must draw the line at the awarding of the 2022 World Cup to Qatar.  From the day it was announced, the award of the 2022 World Cup to Qatar smelled fishy and was regarded even by FIFA's executive committee as 'High-Risk.  The reason why Blatter's re-election was uncontested, was because Mr. Mohammed bin Hammad of Qatar, the President of the Asian Football Confederation, was disqualified at the last minute due to a corruption investigation launched by CONCACAF General Secretary Chuck Blazer, regarding bribery and vote-selling for the FIFA Presidency and the 2022 World Cup Qatar bid as well.  Coupled with the English FA President David Bernstein's principled stand against the Qatar 2022 award and the ongoing smell of corruption at FIFA, the result was the re-election of the most roundly disliked figure in International Football today.  Thus has Sepp Blatter astonishingly retained control of the helm of Football's worldwide governing body.

Despite Blatter's claim that the Qatar 2022 World Cup award was "not touched" by the Blazer investigation or Bernstein's opposition, and despite Qatar's furious rejection of any corruption allegations (were they going to admit it, do you think?), the visible facts are quite damning: Qatar, holding the Presidency of the Asian Footbal Confederation, was awarded the World Cup amid allegations of corruption and vote-swapping, leading to Hammad's subsequent disqualification from candidacy for the FIFA Presidency for vote-buying, and the re-election of the scandalous Sepp Blatter.  It all looks very irregular.

Meanwhile, in Australia Senator Nick Xenophon iurged the Government to demand that FIFA reimburse Australia the $45.6 million dollars they spent on their 2022 World Cup bid, since it is now painfully clear that the vote was fixed and Australia never had a chance.  This seems quite reasonable to me, since the presumption of any bid committee is that they will compete on a level plaing field, which it clearly was not.  Since the vote was fixed, the money was wasted, so I think FIFA should pay Australia back.  I also think the USSF should do the same if the Qatar 2022 World Cup award is not voted on again.

Under Sepp Blatter's administration, FIFA has become a morass of collusion, corruption and insider deals.  The 'beautiful game' deserves so much better than what we are getting from this crew, and the sport is ill-served by these insider deals and acts of collusion under Sepp Blatter's administration.  Sepp Blatter needs to go, and the Qatar 2022 World Cup award should be re-called and voted on once again.  Immediately.