Fifa continues to defend itself against accusations of corruption, but the net appears to be closing in on its president Sepp Blatter.
Sepp Blatter, Fifa and Jack Warner. More dirt has hit the fan. and you wonder how long Blatter, who deplorably but predictably, stayed in office til January, despite him giving up the Fifa presidency, will remain out of trouble (a euphemism).
Now it is learned that Blatter sold the highly lucrative TV rights for both the 2010 and 2014 World Cups to the odious Warner for knockdown prices, to his Caribbean body. A mere $600,000. Whereupon Warner sold them of for millions of dollars, a vast profit.
Feebly, Fifa declare that the contract with he Caribbean Football Union (CFU), which was transferred to Warner’s own company, JDI, was not fulfilled. Fifa was due a fixed licence fee and 50% of any profit made – as indeed they speculatively were. The CFU, we are euphemistically told by Fifa, “made several; breaches to the contract and failed to meet its financial obligations.” Surprise, surprise.
Those who have read Andrew Jennings’ lacerating book Foul! will know what an almost affectionate relationship there was between Warner and Blatter, who needed his Concacaf votes and seemed prepared to give him almost anything he wanted. Shameless Blatter has announced that Fifa need “a complete overhaul,” and must await with some anxiety the consequences of a reported investigation by the FBI.
Warner inevitably proclaiming himself an innocent, is struggling to resist extradition to the USA.
Meanwhile, what of Michel Platini, who seems all but certain to follow Blatter into office? His hopelessly remote rival, Prince Ali, who doesn’t even have the backing of his own federation, every now and then launches a pungent but ultimately ineffectual broadside at him.
Probably the worst you can say about Platini’s candidature for the Fifa presidency is that he is the least worst. He has been a sadly inadequate president of Uefa, spinelessly going along as we so well know with the choice of Qatar, even initially as a 50 degrees centigrade summer tournament, then a winter tournament to the detriment of the European clubs and countries he is supposed to represent.
The misguided boobies of our own Football Association have fallen mindlessly into line behind him, regardless of those and such other blunders as devising a fatuously expanded European Championship field.
But then you reflect that Blatter’s appalling mentor and predecessor, Joao Havelange, still alive and enjoying his ill-gotten gains, in his late 90s, remained in office for 24 years. Yes, he bought the votes of a multiplicity of smaller countries, but where was the opposition of the larger European countriess, very much including our own? Platini would certainly be a more acceptable figure than either Havelange of Blatter. Small mercies?