Sepp Blatter cleans stables after the horse has bolted
FIFA president Sepp Blatter has indicated he could be replaced “in the near future” as the head of football’s world governing body by Jeffrey Webb.
Webb, a FIFA vice-president, is leader of the confederation for North, Central America and the Caribbean (CONCACAF).
Blatter, 77, has led the governing body since 1998 and despite his comments about Webb, has shown no obvious signs of relinquishing the role.
Speaking at an event to mark the opening of a CONCACAF sport summit, the FIFA boss was introduced incorrectly to an audience of regional political leaders and confederation delegates as “FIFA’s vice-president” by a local media officer.
Blatter replied to the error by telling the media officer and assembled guests: “I think you’re a prophet.”
“[There may be] a new FIFA president in the near future and this president could be Jeffrey Webb.”
“This would not mean I would be vice-president. Once you have been a horse you don’t go back to the stable.”
Blatter has used the trip to the Caribbean to seek more accountability over FIFA spending.
Several projects are reported to be floundering. These include a plan “to develop a national team for the Turks and Caicos Islands ‘in the middle of nowhere,” which, according to former squad member Chris Gannon, flopped.
FIFA said in April it has had “difficulties” with projects on Antigua, where planned $400,000 pitch is currently “a waterlogged plot of disused land.”
Blatter began meeting with officials from 22 Caribbean football associations and the U.S. and Canada at a five-day seminar in the Cayman Islands Monday.
FIFA General Secretary Jerome Valcke said that the trip “is part of a global roadshow that aims to ensure Blatter’s reforms to increase accountability and transparency reach national federations.”
Valcke: “FIFA cannot work at the top of the pyramid if at the bottom of the pyramid the member associations don’t have the same level of organization.”
The Caribbean region has received $260M of FIFA’s developments funds since 1999. And, if we’re honest, the region does not have a great deal to show for that investment. Where the money went is unknown and, given the litiginous nature of the main protagonists in the region, it would be unwise to speculate as to its whereabouts.
Maintaining the equine metaphor, it is clear, that in his search for transparency, Blatter has closed the stable door well after the horse has bolted.