Is anything going to happen? Is there going to be any sequel to the new horrifying revelations by the remarkable Insight team on the Sunday Times?
As I write there is nothing but a deafening hush after their horrifying exposure of the dirty deals between the ineffable Sepp Blatter and the equally repugnant Qataris. There will shortly be a book about it, all in depressing detail.
Meanwhile a vast two-page exposure in the newspaper gives more then sufficient chapter and verse about the underhand, corrupt way in which Qatar obtained the 2022 World Cup and Blatter’s devious part in it.
That the chief individual sufferer has plainly been the rascally Mohamed Bin Hammam gives only limited cause for rejoicing. Bin Hammam it was who bribed Qatar’s way to acquiring the 2022 tournament and it was when Blatter, who had briefly cast doubt on the validity of that bid, suddenly woke up to the fact that Bin Hammam has bought no fewer than 14 of the 22 Exco voters who would decide on the venue for that World Cup, that he decided to act.
Insight discovered that Blatter, suddenly convinced and converted to the validity of Qatar’s claims, got in contact with his old acquaintance, the all powerful Emir of Qatar, and struck a bargain with him. FIFA would drop any potential inquiry into the way Qatar had acquired the World Cup, if the Emir would sack Bin Hammam, who Blatter greatly feared as a rival for the FIFA Presidency.
As the Sicilians say one hand washes the other and very dirty hands all six of them were indeed. So it was that a stunned Bin Hammam was called into Blatter’s office to find Blatter and the Emir himself. He was ordered by the Emir to abandon his FIFA Presidential challenge and had no choice but to do so.
Nor would this be the end of his troubles. That same month, May 2011, he had already been accused of using another scoundrel Jack Warner of Trinidad – ludicrously and nauseatingly courted even by David Cameron and Prince William in the run up to voting for the the World Cup – to offer bribes of $40,000 to each delegate to vote for Bin Hammam in the Presidential election.
In June 2011 Blatter was duly re-elected unopposed; the following month Bin Hammam was banned from football for life. Though he appealed and won he was banned again in December 2012 and has now reportedly quit football altogether.
Shameless as ever, Blatter months after receiving damning evidence of Qatari corruption from the Sunday Times, blithely declared “that we have not received any evidence whatsoever, nor from any whistle blower with regards to the allegations made.”
He will no doubt shamelessly brush aside the latest scandalous charges. And what you wonder will stop him? Whatever stopped his mentor and appalling predecessor Joao Havelange who remained in Presidential office for 24 putrid years?
The dismal fact is that the whole structure of FIFA, one country one vote, however big or small, simply allows Blatter or whoever holds the levers of power simply to buy – in effect – the votes of the minnows with generous subsidies.
Not a word alas so far from the FA’s resident blowhard Greg Dyke; he who, while in command at the BBC, spoke absurdly of it being “hideously white.” No one then seemed to object, but imagine the cacophony from the politically correct had he used the equally fatuous phrase, “hideously black.”
His recent half-baked plan to enable major clubs to put their reserve teams into the Football League duly bit the dust. Now he wants to limit the influx of foreign players, which however laudable, can do nothing to halt the flow of players from member countries of the EEC. As one who sat on the appeals committee for a couple of years I always felt such limits to be arbitrary, based on quantity rather than quality.
If Dyke has at least spoken up about Blatter and Qatar by the time you read this, then my abject apologies, but I am not holding my breath.
In a well-ordered world Michel Platini, on the basis of these latest revelations, would at once take the countries under his Presidency out of the Qatari World Cup. For which, alas, he has shamefully or shamelessly voted both for the impossible red-hot summer and now the disruptive winter versions of the tournament. Reportedly because pressure was put on him for economic reasons by Nicolas Sarkozy when he was President of France. Still no valid excuse for what is surely an avoidance, to put it mildly, of his duties to his European constituents.
Meanwhile, no doubt imported labourers on the Qatari stadia will continue to die, their passports withheld.