Sunday, May 29, 2011

FIFA house is on fire

What a week it has been at FIFA H.Q. Could the den of thieves finally be about to be gutted and the old guard sent packing, bribes and all?

By Sunday afternoon, the final stretch of campaigning for the Presidency had become an ugly fire-fight between incumbent Sepp Blatter and the challenger Mohamed Bin-Hammam, with the Swiss apparently emerging from the conflagration the winner after his rival withdrew.

Blatter had led comfortably going into this week as news arrived that the African votes were headed his way.

Then out of the blue Chuck Blazer, the portly Executive Committee member from the USA, who has backed the uber-crook Jack Warner for two decades, suddenly announcing he had reported Bin-Hammam and his CONCACAF boss to the Ethics Committee for trying to buy votes from the Caribbean Football Union.

On Sunday, Bin-Hammam, seeing his bid for glory going up in flames, retaliated by reporting Blatter to the same committee for not reporting breaches of its laws on his watch.

Warner and Bin Hammam were suspended from football activities, while Blatter was let off.

Now on Monday, Warner has got his revenge by reporting Blatter for sending unsolicited gifts of computers and cash to CONCACAF, plus revealing an email in which General Secretary Jerome Valcke expressed an opinion that Bin-Hammam was trying to buy FIFA Presidency in the same way Qatar "bought" the 2022 World Cup finals.

The ruling class of FIFA are at each other's throats in an almighty cat-fight. So much changes by the day it is hard to keep up with the latest shenanigans. The presidential election on Wednesday will be the most absurd embellishment to this farce, with only one, denigrated and discredited candidate left on the ballot paper.

If the FIFA nations have any shame they will follow the lead of the Football Association and allegedly some Asian members in boycotting the ridiculous 'vote' for Sepp Blatter.

Surely the 'Salt Lake City moment' we have dreamed about is imminent; if the FIFA house of shame does not fall now in the fallout from the disgraceful 2018/2022 World Cup votes, then when will it ever?

- Sean O'Conor

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