FIFA Faces the Inquisition on Bribery Charges: A Tragic Comedy
FIFA president Sepp Blatter defiantly confronted the press on Monday, as the world football governing body faces wide-spread allegations of bribery. Two senior officials, Mohamed bin Hammam and Jack Warner, have been suspended.
There is something tragically entertaining about the scandal unravelling in FIFA’s Zurich headquarters. The slanderous allegations of bribery among all fronts is tearing the corporation apart, essentially nullifying its merit and the good it brings to football. High-profile delegates have been suspended, an investigations team has swooped in and attempted (and failed) to fix the problem and now the upcoming presidential election only has the incumbent running. And yet, it doesn’t seem as though the turmoil is affecting any of FIFA’s delegates, who still has self-righteous and conceited as ever.
Let us take a look at some of the characters in this tragic comedy.
Sepp Blatter: FIFA’s president is an exceptional figure; football’s answer to Colonel Gaddafi. Cleared of any wrong-doing by the appointed ethics committee (appointed by whom is not yet clear), Blatter shares many qualities with the Libyan leader, as was apparent in the press conference he gave on Monday. Peering down at a room of journalists with total disregard, he bluntly spat out: “Crisis? What is a crisis?”
Blatter’s smug then transcended into a more casual stance, as if everything was just fine. With all the skills of a corrupt politician, thriving on contempt towards any inquiry, he laughed off any suggestions of wrong-doing on his behalf, addressed a female journalist as “Lady,” and even accused the press of not doing their own job appropriately. Signing off, Blater told the room: “I will not go into discussions with people who like to create problems. I just want to tell you one thing. You can laugh, that’s an attitude. So is respect. I have learned this in my life also as a journalist. I said this is finished. Thank you.”
And like any authoritative leader, Blatter has absolutely zero reservation when it comes to throwing his enemies into the fire.
Mohamed bin Hammam: The now suspended president of the Asian Football Confederation was supposed to be Blatter’s rival in the FIFA election. However, as the ethics patrol bandwagon rolled into FIFA’s Zurich headquarters, bin Hammam, a paramount figure in Qatar’s successful bid to host the 2022 World Cup, was swift to withdraw his nomination, leaving Blatter to stand election unopposed.
Bin Hammam’s suspension relates to allegations that bribes were offered to the Caribbean Football Union in exchange for votes. Bin Hammam is now appealing his suspension, claiming that “The way these proceedings have been conducted is not compliant with any form of justice,” and now wants the panel to look into allegations that Blatter knew all about the bribery and refused to do anything about it. In the meantime, however, if bin Hammam is found guilty he could face a lifetime ban from all “football-related activity” (his Gol TV subscription will obviously be the first victim). The odds of such a penalty are looking ever-increasing, especially since Jack Warner has made it to clear that he will be pulling bin Hammam down with him.
Jack Warner: Within minutes of being suspended over more allegations of bribery, former FIFA vice-president Jack Warner released an email exchange between bin Hammam and FIFA general secretary Jerome Valcke that claimed that Qatar has essentially “bought” the 2022 World Cup finals. Valcke’s excuse was that he may have been using colloquial language, but Warner was adamant, shoving print of the email right the lens of television cameras, proclaiming: “You don’t have to believe me, you don’t have to like me, nobody has to eat with me, drink with me or sleep with me but Jesus Christ, take the truth when you see it.”
He is also accusing Blatter of kow-towing guests of CONCACAF, North America’s football confederation, by offering them gifts and a $1 million “donation”.
And just like everyone else at FIFA, Warner is insisting that he has done nothing wrong. Rather, it is the investigation team that should be doing its job properly. “I look on the suspension as the worst form of justice by any sporting organisation,” said Warner. “The guys were hand-picked by Blatter. A kangaroo court would be a decent thing to say.”
Given the personalities that run it, FIFA’s delegation looks as though it is on the brink of collapsing in on itself. Packed to the brim with arrogance and where every person thinks they are irreproachable, the only way this mess can be properly cleaned up is if the money’s taken out of the organization all together. And, thankfully, it seems like it may happen.
Three of FIFA’s chief sponsors, Adidas; Coca-Cola and Emirates Airlines, have all piled the pressure on FIFA, insisting that allegations of corruption is doing no one’s image any favours – not the brands, not the delegates, not the sport. And since FIFA’s president and his delegates only speak in the language of currency, maybe this will finally make them listen.
Until then, we all have to sit and watch as, to quote “Mississippi Burning,” “The starting to eat each other”.
Follow us on twitter@thefastertimes
- 1 Brooklyn Man Now Living Entirely Off Own Beard Garden
- 2 First Openly Straight Figure Skater Comes Forward
- 3 “Cra Cra” Now Official Diagnosis in New DSM (DSM-5)
- 4 OfficeMax Marketing Director Struggling to Make Staplers ‘Sexy’ and ‘Conversational’
- 5 Homeless Guy Woos Silicon Valley VCs with Low-Tech Crowdfunding Startup
- 6 Area Man Tailors Life To Be More Relevant To His Hulu Advertisements
- 7 Fan Banging Furiously on Glass Could Be the Difference in Hockey Playoffs
- 8 Survey: 88% of Eagles Fans Too Drunk To Spell Nnamdi Asomugha Last Season
- 9 Attorney Actually Starting to Believe Own Bullshit
- 10 Local Mom Won’t Stop Being First Person to Like Every Goddamn Thing Son Posts to Facebook