Amidst perhaps the worst scandal in football’s history Sepp Blatter, the 79 year-old Swiss bureaucrat, has won his fifth term as President of world football’s governing body Fifa. His return to the helm of Fifa comes only days after up to 18 high ranking FIFA officials were charged by US and Swiss authorities looking into fraud, corruption, money-laundering and a culture of kickbacks in the organization going back 24 years.
How Blatter has survived all these years (17 as President of FIFA) is termed ‘miraculous’ by some as his four terms to date have been marked by cases of corruption and mismanagement of resources. Now he is back again at the top seat and one begs to wonder, is he football’s Osama bin Laden? It has been as hard to nail him down.
Just when you would think this is it, Blatter can’t survive this, he is voted back to take charge of FIFA despite opposition from Europe, the US, Australia, Canada and New Zealand. He promises change and reforms which he has always promised ever since his first campaign but not much seems to have changed in the efforts of cleaning up the organization in fact, Fifa’s reputation is at its worst.
WHAT KEEPS BLATTER IN POWER?
It appears there are more important issues than corruption in the Fifa world and that could be the reason Blatter keeps his seat. Despite being disliked by the masses outside the FIFA organization, most of the insiders think otherwise. The reasons they give for their support for Blatter and the actual truth is subject for debate.
The AFC (Asian Football Confederation) and CAF (Confederation of Africa Football) have been backing Blatter collectively, together with pockets of Central America and Oceania, but of course it is individual associations who vote. Blatter brought the world cup to these two continents for the first time, Japan/Korea in 2002 and South Africa in
2010, among many other projects FIFA has undertaken in these two continents under his tenure in office, and he has always counted on their votes.
The FIFA President has also turned the organization into a commercial entity racking in billions of dollars from sponsors like Coca Cola and Adidas among others.
Talking to the BBC, the newly elected president of the Nigerian Football Federation, Amaju Pinnick, said, “Blatter feels Africa, he sees Africa and he has imparted so much – a lot of developmental programmes.
“Without Blatter we wouldn’t enjoy all the benefits we enjoy today from Fifa. What Blatter pushes is equity, fairness and equality among the nations. We don’t want to experiment.”
India’s Hindustan Times said Mr Blatter still had the country’s support because “Blatter’s art of giving is likely to matter more than the allegations of corruption”.
El Salvador’s delegate said that as Mr Blatter remains committed to projects in the Central American nation “then we have committed to vote for him”.
DEVELOPMENTS BUT NO ETHICS
Truly football has become global under Sepp Blatter as he had made sure Fifa money has been spent in almost all the footballing countries through projects. So one could see why federations keep voting him back and care less about corruption and ethics.
The problem lies in the manner in which things are done around the organization which has kept to its rules but thrown away ethics to the point where Fifa has been termed as one of the most corrupt sporting bodies in the world.
The method used to push agendas in the organization has allegedly involved bribery and unethical means and the successful bids from Russia and Qatar World Cup to stage the 2018 and 2022 World Cups have been called into question.
FIFA has shown the world that multi-millions of ordinary football fans worldwide are powerless against them as they went ahead with the elections because the corruption cases against high ranking officials is not part of their business.
Though Blatter is set to serve his fifth term as Fifa’s president it remains to be seen how he will maneuver his way through this new wave of scandal that is of tsunami proportions.