Blatter Scandal: We’ve Got the FIFA We Deserve

by admin

Tuesday, May 31st, 2011

Given the uproar around the recent happenings at FIFA, you’d think that something new and horrific had happened, but corruption has been at the core of our governing body for years. It’s just that now we’re reaping the fruit of our ignorance and, as a footballing family, we have nobody to blame but ourselves.

There was a time, long ago, when FIFA was a noble organisation, run for the good of the game under Sir Stanley Rous. In 1974, his reign was brought to an end when an ambitious Brazilian, Joao Havelange, won the election. His victory would spark a chain of events which led us to where we are now, with FIFA corrupted by greed and blinded by a Machiavellian insistence that we should all just keep calm and carry on. After all, they know better.

Havelange was a money man. He brought with him sponsorship for the World Cup, from the likes of Coca Cola, McDonalds and, most notably, Adidas. It’s the Adidas sponsorship of the Dutch national kit which deprived us a second opportunity to see Johan Cruyff at the World Cup. Money brings its own set of problems, and Havelange was eventually implicated in a cash-for-contracts scandal after his 24 year reign ended.

It ended thanks to a cloak-and-dagger campaign from Blatter, a relatively young Swiss eager to move up the political ladder. Unlike Rous all those years ago, Blatter knew how to play dirty in the political game, as likely to wield his axe as to flash a smile. Under his watch, cronies like Warner and Bin Hammam were able to creep into the game, eventually taking as much as they were giving, and reputedly taking even more. Warner, perpetually locked in some sort of ticket touting scandal, is the worst of the lot.

Yet we’ve known this for years. There has always been the feeling that something untoward was going on at FIFA but, as long as we had our game, we didn’t care. Blatter, who has never faced a challenger to his leadership who made it the ballot box, has been able to run FIFA, and its finances, single-handedly since 1998, but we got our Champions League, so we didn’t care.

Blatter has squeezed the smaller clubs out of business, and made the rich of the game increasingly richer whilst marginalizing the poor, but we had Sky TV to watch the games, so we didn’t care.

It’s only now, facing back-to-back World Cups in footballing backwaters, unaffordable season tickets and stadia devoid of atmosphere and full to the brim of corporate suits scoffing vol-au-vents, that we turn to Blatter and ask him to fix everything for us.

Is it any surprise that he doesn’t see what’s wrong? He’s been lining his pockets, and those of his allies, for years, and we haven’t said a word. Why is it suddenly so different?

You can read Ben Johnston over at Five Cantonas, or follow him on Twitter @fivecantonas

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  • jokiemon

    Blatter is an absolute aggragant prick. He needs to be sacked NOW.

    There needs to be an urgent overhall of FIFA before they ruin the beautiful game.

    What the hell have QATAR given to the world of football? NOTHING

    Its stinks and so u FIFA

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