At the start of 2015 I wrote two articles on Sepp Blatter and FIFA.
One of the mediums (not Weekly Trust) that I write in refused to publish both articles because, as minor sponsors of FIFA, they would be running the risk of some kind of reprisal from the world body.
They insisted it was too scathing of the person of Blatter and they would not risk their relationship with FIFA for an article that spoke the truth. The issues I raised then have become even more relevant now.
Enjoy the recap and compare with the on-going drama.
As the world enters into 2015, I have set for myself one goal, a resolution of some sort – to join forces with whoever loves the game of football to stop Sepp Blatter from returning as President of FIFA when the next elections hold this year.
I just do not understand it.
The sit-down syndrome in any organised setting is anathema to good governance, and is denounced globally for its penchant to turn even good leaders into power-drunk dictators.
The history of the world is littered with the story of several of such political leaders. Their end usually is a sad story of abuse of power, corruption, internal strife and conflicts, controversy and the death of true democratic principles.
As the race for the Presidency of FIFA begins the worst news to come out of Zurich is that Mr. Blatter has not only indicated he would be running again but that no one within the Executive Committee is actually challenging him despite the mountains of scandals and controversies that hang around the neck of the organization and now threaten the integrity of the greatest game in the world.
Whereas I do not intend to go into the details of the ugly scandals and charges that have rocked FIFA since Blatter became its President in 1998, and that have claimed several high profile victims within the football family through the years (Jack Wanner, Bin Hamman, Lennart Johannson, Farra Ado, and so on), the mere fact that Blatter promised that he would not be re-contesting again after the 2011 elections makes his recent announcement very annoying. The man is making a mockery of the rest of the world. The man’s word cannot be trusted. It is just ‘full of sound and fury signifying nothing’.
Mr. Sepp Blatter started his career in FIFA in 1975. That means that he has been part of the organization for 40 years.
He has spent the last 16 as its President.
By next year he will be 80 years old.
In a period in history when the world is preparing to send young men to the red planet, and planes that will cross the Atlantic in one hour are being designed, what is the new innovation a geriatric is bringing to the world’s greatest sport? What did Mr. Blatter forget to do in the past 40 years that he has been part of the organization that he now wants to introduce at the twilight of his life? What is he afraid of in a new leadership? Or better still, what is he hiding from the world that he thinks will remain hidden forever?
Only Jerome Champagne, a former General Secretary of FIFA, has summoned the courage to do what is obviously desirable and needed now for the advancement of world football – enter the race, end the Sepp Blatter reign, and usher in something new, and something refreshing to take football to the next level.
It is truly disheartening, shocking and disappointing that despite the numerous monumental scandals that have rocked the world body through the years, and the baggage of charges that Blatter has had to carry and parry with impunity, and presently and menacingly threaten the integrity of the game of football, the man still has the guts to eat his own words and announce to the world that he would be re-contesting again.
The great tragedy is not that he wants to run, but that he might likely win again if he does whilst the rest of the world is watching and keeping silent.
What hold does Mr. Blatter have over the other members of the Executive Committee of FIFA that makes them cower in the face of his arrogance?
Recall how Bin Hamman withdrew from the race in 2011. Recall how Issa Hayatou, threatened by the IOC for allegations of corruption, bowed to pressure and withdrew also.
In the 2011 elections Mr. Blatter was returned unopposed as President because there was no ‘clean’ person within the race.