That’s right, despite several previous posts (here, here, and here) noting the bribery and corruption issues which have hit FIFA, Sepp Blatter claims that the organization is not in crisis. It seems with each passing day (or literally, a few passing hours since my previous post) that more details and news seems to make this FIFA bribery and corruption scandal look even worse. Blatter said in a very lively press conference:
“Crisis? What is a crisis? Football is not in a crisis. We are not in a crisis. We are only in some difficulties and these difficulties will be solved — and they will be solved inside this family.”
I think someone is in denial. There is clearly a mass of issues here, but Blatter is most likely to be president for another couple of years, and probably his ego tells him he is in control, so nothing can go wrong. But with all these issues which have come under his watch, how can anyone really trust FIFA in the future?
In more corruption news, FIFA cleared Nicolas Leoz, a FIFA member from Paraguay who had been charged with asking for favors in return for his vote for the 2018 World Cup host selection process. Reading a report on the 2018 World Cup host selection process on FIFA’s website, you can see that it is alleged that Mr. Leoz’s assistant asked for the FA Cup to be named after him, and a knighthood and in return he would give a vote for the 2018 World Cup to be held in England. You can read the full report: here. It is full of great quotes and allegations, yet FIFA somehow is saying this really didn’t happen, or it isn’t serious enough to take into consideration.
The question arises: Why is Blatter and Leoz off with no charges, but Bin Hammam and Warner suspended? It all points to FIFA keeping those who are currently in higher positions of power in their current place. I don’t know how much damage control FIFA can do, but I’m thinking that this whole scandal could be costly. I’m imagining countries are going to be less likely to pour money into World Cup bids with all of this news. Of course, the counter-point could be that they might actually put in more money, knowing that a few well placed bribes could be the secret to being named a host.
In one other piece of news, I’d like to congratulate Swansea for their 4-2 win over Reading earlier today to secure promotion from the nPower championship up to the Premier League for next season. The boost in revenue should be nice for them, but we’ll see if they will be able to hang around the top flight of English professional soccer for long.