Shame, shame, shame.
Shame on you FIFA. Shame on you. Shame on Sepp, shame on Jack, shame on Mohammed, shame on Chuck and shame on Jerome. Shame on you all.
Now unless you’ve been living in the jungles of Papua New Guinea for the last week wearing a pair of earplugs and a sleep mask, you’ll know that finally, after years of shifty deals and blatant corruption, FIFA has completely imploded.
It started with Mohammed Bin Hammam deciding to stand in a presidential election against current leader Joseph ‘Sepp’ Blatter. At the last election Sepp stood uncontested and amazingly won - but this time things might have been different. Bin Hammam stood a good chance of taking him on. It was expected to be a very close run thing and then, as if by magic, big Mo and his colleague, the inimitable Jack Warner (head of CONCACAF and FIFA vice-president) were accused of corruption. The actual accusation was that they had given members of the Caribbean branch of FIFA $40,000 each to vote for Bin Hammam in the election. At the time Warner and Bin Hammam both denied this. Unfortunately for them, a photo of one of these $40,000 packages has since emerged from the Bahamas FA. You can see it here.
Since then this accusation has exploded into something far more significant. There has been claim and counter claim from both sides, FIFA’s ethics committee have met and decided to temporarily suspend Warner and Bin Hammam from all football activity pending a full investigation. Before that had happened, Bin Hammam had accused Blatter of knowing about these payments being made and doing nothing about it - quite unsurprisingly, he was acquitted of this charge by FIFA’s ethics committee.
On top of this acquittal, the ethics team also completely absolved Nicholas Leoz, Ricardo Teixeira, Jack Warner and Worawi Makudi of the accusations laid at their doorsteps by Lord Triesman, who had headed up the FA’s bid for England to host the World Cup in 2018. Triesman claimed that those delegates had asked for outrageous bribes in return for their votes - in Leoz’s case in the form of a knighthood. It’s easy to forget now that 2 weeks ago, these accusations were the big story. That they’ve been so readily brushed under the carpet and forgotten by the press shows the sheer magnitude of what has happened at FIFA in the last week. That said, it doesn’t make them irrelevant - by refusing even to investigate these charges FIFA are essentially saying that these words are no more than sour grapes. Why a man like Lord Triesman would feel the need to put himself so hugely at risk and in the public eye by making these claims if they had no substance obviously didn’t occur to FIFA. But they probably knew he had no evidence other than his word - and hey, they had bigger fish to fry anyway.
We digress. After the ethics comittee hearing, Jack Warn-er warned in our Quote of the Week, that there would be a ‘football tsunami’ unleashed over the coming days. Sure enough - Jack didn’t fail us. He produced an email on Sunday which he said was written by FIFA General Secretary Jerome Valcke. Valcke’s email said that “MBH thought he could buy FIFA like they bought the WC.” Love of acronyms aside, this is a disturbing message to say the least. Valcke’s implication was that bin Hammam had helped Qatar’s World Cup bid by using bribes or ‘gifts’ and that he planned to do the same again with his presidential bid. ‘MBH’ voraciously denied this allegation, before half admitting it when he accused Sepp Blatter of ignoring the payments. Beyond that, Qatar were absolutely furious. They threatened legal action, Australia asked for the £36m they spent on their bid for 2022 back again. World football and FIFA suddenly became the biggest story on the planet, something had to be done, the press were up in arms, sponsors were quick to damn the actions of FIFA delegates and briefly, ever so briefly, it looked like Blatter may have to postpone the elections.
Then, THIS HAPPENED.
Holyf*ckingchristdidabicyclekick, Sepp Blatter gave the most incredible press conference in FIFA’s astounding history of corruption, disgrace and unfathomable crap. He refused to accept that any of this furore should make any difference and decided to have the election with him as the only candidate. Sound familiar? So essentially, in spite of all the fuss, all the murky workings of FIFA coming to light, all the anger and all the articles, Blatter’s back in. We have no article left to write. A few people like a backbench MP and a small organisation called ChangeFIFA are still angry, but they haven’t managed to interest FIFA themselves in actually changing, yet. Even good old Jacky Warner stopped ‘alleging’ those ‘allegations.’
So, according to UG’s esteemed lawyer, you have to forget all of the above, because in Sepp’s world, it a) isn’t true and b) never happened. Thanks to freedom of the press, you normally answer questions when you’re asked about something directly. Sepp doesn’t. He leaves. He demands more ‘respect’ which translates as more ‘silence’ when you speak FIFA. So here’s the lawyer friendly version of events, sent to UG this morning by FIFA’s press office.
RECENT NON-EVENTS AT FIFA 05/06/11
Recently, nothing of interest has happened.
The Press Office at the FIFA Family
‘For the game. For the world. For our back pocket.’