For any business to run successfully, it is the integrity that builds the stature that take the business forward. If you cheat your clients, sooner or later, you and your business will go down, as this is the norm of society.
FIFA, which originally stands for “Federation of International Football Association”, is the ideal governing body for different sports associations to look up to around the world, for more than one reason, mainly because there is less dependency on one single country in the World to generate most of the revenue like cricket, hockey & tennis, where federations are mostly short of options to generate revenues on their own. FIFA is not the one like that.
However, unfortunately, during the time of Sepp Blatter, the acronym seems to take on a whole new meaning – “Federation of International Fraud Association” after continual corruption scandals and allegations. Having been in the FIFA for nearly four decades, and being the president for the most of the last two decades, the image of football has struck to new low’s with allegations of corruption at the highest level of the ‘FIFA family’.
In an interesting turn of events, early Wednesday morning, as New York Times reports, Swiss authorities raided a place where nearly 200 FIFA delegates, from different parts of the world who came to take part in the FIFA congress, were residing. Seven of them were arrested following the investigation on the account of bribery in football’s governing body.
Those, though, were not the only arrests that were made throughout the day, wherein United States, authorities after a deeply rooted investigation into corruption charges against different FIFA officials, arrested seven more, with some of them already agreeing to plead guilty to the charges.
The first thing we need to understand is that there are two different investigations from two different countries being carried out against FIFA at this point. One of them is being carried out by Swiss Authorities, which is actually about the bidding process for the 2018 and the 2022 World Cup, and one by the United States Department of Justice, who is investigating the use of bribery over the last 25 years in FIFA over the use of the American banking system bribe not only the voting of World Cup in 2010 & 2014, but also the marketing and advertisement rights.
At this point in time, United States Department of Justice claimed at the press conference that at least 14 people were arrested. The important thing to note here is that these authorities are hitting right at the heart of FIFA, with the arrest of a few of the big names in the ‘FIFA Family’. During all those events, FIFA held a press conference, in which they claimed that they are the injured party throughout all this investigation and that these investigations were started on their request, which in all fairness, especially after the press conference of the US Department of Justice, seems not the case.
However, the real question that arises is what’s next for FIFA after this? Are we going to see the head of the world’s largest sporting body taking the blame for the debacle and resign? The answer is quite simple.
After serving for nearly four decades in the same organization, and after being in power for nearly two decades, you would think that one would want to retire and live an honourable life thereafter. But at the age of 79, Blatter doesn’t think that way. After all, this is not the first time any scandal has come under his Presidential tenure at FIFA.
In 2002, Michel Zen-Ruffinen, who was the then FIFA Secretary General, accused Sepp Blatter of financial mismanagement, but nothing happened then. In 2011/12, CONCACAF (Confederation of North, Central America & Caribbean Football Association) fired Jack Warner after evidence of corruption, in which the money was brought in through FIFA, but no further arrests were made. In 2001, Blatter was cleared during the internal investigation following the billion dollar payment in bribes in a FIFA Marketing scandal.
Although questions were raised regarding his ignorance of the payments and his incompetence in ruling to the point that he didn’t know what was going on, Blatter has never thought of stepping down. Any sane man would be willing to resign right now. But we know that Blatter won’t, after all, despite his responsibility for corruption under his watch, he hasn’t been arrested.
Fact is, the game’s integrity is going down. Nevertheless, FIFA insists that the presidential election will take place as per schedule, as Blatter looks likely to be re-elected for the fifth time as the president. There is no doubt will be selected again, as there is no one to compete with him. But the real question is, when does it end and where it will go from here?
As a football fan, as a football lover, we don’t care if it’s Blatter or someone else. All we care about is the integrity of the game, that there should never be anyone to bring the game into disrepute. People like me don’t have anything personal against Blatter, but it’s his greed for power which we oppose and it is affecting the game we love the most. With people like Blatter around, you keep hearing these corruption stories, with nothing being
With people like Blatter around, you keep hearing these corruption stories, with nothing being out rightly proven against him, nor is he being given a clean chit. As people say, when there is smoke, there is fire. For the sake of this argument, maybe he is innocent or maybe he is not, only time will tell, but with him at the helm of the affairs, things can only get worse.
US DOJ is saying that they will get deep into this case, and that this is just the beginning. As they say that it’s the nature’s rule that “whatever goes up must come down”. And seems like so is the case for Blatter. US Attorney General said in the press conference that “This is a World Cup of fraud and we are issuing FIFA a red card”, which clearly shows their intention and their seriousness. Only time will tell when there will be a “red bed” for Blatter; one thing’s for sure, his bureaucratic empire is falling apart.
The article originally appeared on Playingfor90.com