All around western Europe it’s back-to-school time. Something similar can be said as far as FIFA’s interminable vote-fixing ‘study course’ is concerned with Mohamed Bin Hammam presenting his life-ban appeal in Zurich on Thursday.
No-one appears to believe, seriously, that the Qatari who is still de facto president of the Asian confederation is facing anything but a further rebuff.
His various explosions of anger – including his latest intemperate rant at Ethics vice-chair Petrus Damaseb – make clear that he has no faith in the FIFA justice system and cannot wait to take his case to what he hopes will be cleaner, clearer waters of the Court of Arbitration for Sport and then, if necessary, the Swiss civil court system.
That promises to add further layers of complexity to the entire business, if the Sion muddle is anything to go by. Here the disciplinary processes of FIFA, UEFA, CAS and the Swiss courts have fallen hopelessly out of sync; the only realistic possibility is either that Sion president Christian Constantin will explode out of football altogether or that the other Swiss clubs will negotiate some sort of compromise.
A further alternative is the likelihood of Constantin sueing for zillions of Swiss francs in damages and taking the game further into uncharted Sport v The Law waters.
Ironically appropriate timing sees FIFA’s appeals panel consider Bin Hammam’s case on the same day that Celtic – rather than Sion – go into action against Atletico de Madrid in Spain in that disputed Europa League tie.
Since Trinidad’s Minister of Works Jack Warner pushed football’s ejector-seat button and left Bin Hammam to face the music alone in mid-July various other minor earthquakes have kept the corruption pot boiling.
Warner’s would-be successor as CONCACAF president Austin Lisle tried to short-cut the sporting disciplinary process and disappeared up a Caribbean courtroom cul-de-sac; various intriguing details emerged about the commercially-enlaced offshore financial arrangements of CONCACAF general secretary Chuck Blazer; lawyers for Brazilian football godfather Ricardo Teixeira prepared for yet another prosecutor’s inquiry (with Teixeira threatening defamation action against investigate journalist Andrew Jennings for comments on Romario’s website);
Warner fired a couple of vituperative, self-justifying salvoes at Blazer and FIFA president Sepp Blatter (notably after FIFA scrapped his own company’s lucrative World Cup TV rights deal, so read into that whatever you like – which is pretty obvious);
Australia’s media tore into the now-released details of how the FFA spent A$45.6m on its 2022 World Cup (including A$6.72m on consultants Peter Hargitay, Fedor Radmann and Andreas Abold plus A$10m on the Bid Book);. . . and then up popped Chung Mong-jong with a vapid little contribution of his own.
The South Korean’s comments, describing Blatter as a spoiled child masquerading as a linguist, were both risible and deeply disappointing. FIFA insiders have been waiting with bated breath for exco-ousted Chung to lift the lid on his 15 years at the top table . . . and this is all he managed?
So here is the biggest mystery of all: Why on earth does Bin Hammam want to get back in there?