After Qatar, Russia? One would hope so.
Though in an ideal world the present Qatar scandal surrounding Qatar might, we are told by a knowledgeable insider, eventually bankrupt FIFA of all the colossal funds which they now hold. If only.
For whatever the results of the current investigation by the USA lawyer Michael Garcia, there is no hope of FIFA ever reforming itself as a body. Corruption goes far too deep. Yes, the egregious Sepp Blatter is not in any way involved in the current investigation, but for years past he has worked hand in grubby glove with the current villain of the piece, Jack Warner.
The so-called power broker, if you remember, who before the voting on those two World Cups was allowed to stroll into 10 Downing Street while in Zurich before the votes were cast was courted by both David Cameron and the hapless Prince William to the reported delight of his wife.
As we know all too well, the wretched little twister did not vote for England in the 2018 ballot. Indeed apart from England itself only one other country did. Which alas was completely predictable since England was not offering bribes to members of the voting committee. All that money spent for nothing. There are surely times when sheer cynicism can be a valid defence.
Warner we know, as if we hadn’t guessed, and his two sons made millions of Qatari dollars out of their perfidy, though needless to say the money went not directly from the Qatari coffers but from the wealthy Sheikh Bin Hammam.
Also involved in the vote buying exercise, attempts to bribe leaders of the Caribbean countries, in which the money came from him, but Warner was the bag man.
Provided you can resist the stench of moral disgust. I would refer you to Andrew Jennings’ Foul! in which he prints a number of the almost affectionate messages sent by Blatter to Warner when the latter was successfully demanding money for one scheme or another in his native Trinidad.
There has never been a valid argument in favour of hot little footballing minuscule Qatar having the World Cup.
I am quite prepared to believe that the disastrous Michel Platini acted in all honesty by not only supporting Qatar’s bid but even supporting the move to stage the World Cup in the winter. This, mark you, from the man who is also President of UEFA.
He has meanwhile grossly fouled up the European Championship both by enlarging it to such a ludicrous extent and, after failing to denote Turkey as the eventual hosts – who would have been available had he waited – spreading the eventual finals far and wide.
Nor need we thank Platini, as disastrous an administrator as he was great a player, for expanding and cheapening the secondary European championship. Would he make a suitable successor to Blatter? Yes indeed; he would probably be just as bad. If Blatter as a wry German journalist once said has 51 bad new ideas every day, Platini may well have 52.
Meanwhile that other FIFA charmer Julio Grondona, the aged Argentine, is reported to have tried to undermine the current investigation. Hardly a surprise. Corruption runs irresistibly deep through South American football.
It took decades to catch up with the appalling Havelange, who ousted Stanley Rous from the FIFA Presidency in 1974 in Frankfurt and sullied the organisation ever since to his own vast enrichment. That he should be deprived of the honorary title of FIFA President must now in his 90s distress him dreadfully.
More distressed will surely be his ineffable son-in-law whom Havelange raised out of virtual poverty to become a rich television mogul and a leading, pompous, self-important loud-mouthed top banana of the Brazilian Federation. Not to mention the man so significantly and so shamelessly put in charge of Brazil’s World Cup hierarchy.
But Ricardo Texeira was involved and impugned like Havelange in the ISL scandal accepting huge bribes from the now defunct company in exchange for World Cup concessions. He has fled Brazil and is now comfortably ensconced with a sheltering friend. That he should have survived and flourished so long in Brazilian football tells you however horribly all you need to know of it.
Whoever would have believed that big Sam Allardyce was such a sensitive soul?
Never before, he plaintively protested, had he been booed by his own fans after a victory. But there are as we know victories and…victories. West Ham, escaping relegation I am happy to say, won two games by 2-1 on the trot, but those were contrasting victories.
Hull City (not Tigers so far thank heavens) were defeated at Upton Park when reduced to 10 men. The crucial West Ham goal scored in highly controversial circumstances when before it went in – leading to the debatable expulsion of Hull’s keeper McGregor, there looked to be a crucial handball by a West Ham man.
At Sunderland where Hammers won against an oddly deployed Sunderland by Gus Poyet, West Ham escaped a plain penalty when a handball, this time by Nolan in his own box, went unperceived by the referee.
Somewhat odd to see Martin Peters defending Allardyce from the booers. Peters, the quintessence of the Ron Greenwood academy of football arts and sciences.