American Hegemony in Sports: Blatter's a Goner

♠ Posted by Emmanuel in ,, at 6/02/2015 07:16:00 PM
Making too many enemies in high places, Blatter was brought down.
After a lot of huffing and puffing, it's finally come down to this: After Sepp Blatter's trusted lieutenant Jerome Valcke was reportedly embroiled in a $10M slush fund scandal, it was probably only a matter of time before prosecutors pinned Blatter down. As slippery as he's been. Blatter likely recognizes that the game was up. With so many powerful enemies--the US, UK, and the rest of Europe for starters--he would be implicated sooner or later. Rather than try to put out fires raging all across FIFA as this and that official is charged in addition to running its day-to-day affairs, Blatter has decided to quit while he's ahead. If nothing else, he's a canny operator, and he perceives that deserting FIFA will do him better than staying on at this point in the game. So he's called for new elections right away while promising to step down once someone new is selected.

This done, there are three big questions going forward:
  • Who will be the next FIFA president? UEFA's Michel Platini is the supposedly the front-runner, but keep in mind that many Blatter allies will remain in place for now, complicating the selection process;
  • Will the 2018 Russian World Cup in Sochi still push through? With the (Western) Europeans seemingly ascendant, that won't be a particularly popular venue given Vladimir Putin's penchant for military adventurism at their expense;
  • Will the 2022 Qatar World Cup in Doha still push through? This literally murderous event has been mired in controversy for years after hundreds and hundreds of migrant workers constructing stadiums have died--and still it's seven years away.
The latter two events may be scotched if it is proven that bribery was behind their selection (which I honestly don't think will be all that difficult to uncover if you look hard enough). So is it three cheers for American imperialism in the US Department of Justice laying the seemingly untouchable Sepp Blatter low? The long arm of the American lawman reached out and swatted Blatter down more easily than I'd thought possible. Still, my belief is that Sepp Blatter was not so much the ringmaster as he was the enabler of massive corruption at FIFA. With so many dirty old men fronting football associations the world over, Blatter simply fit right in.

As a parting shot, "Reformer Sepp" is stepping up:
The Executive Committee includes representatives of confederations over whom we have no control, but for whose actions FIFA is held responsible. We need deep-rooted structural change. The size of the Executive Committee must be reduced and its members should be elected through the FIFA Congress. The integrity checks for all Executive Committee me mbers must be organised centrally through FIFA and not through the confederations . We need term limits not only for the president but for all members of the Executive Committee. I have fought for these changes before and, as everyone knows, my efforts hav e been blocked. This time, I will succeed.
Yeah, whatever. Cleaning up the murk that is FIFA will be a Herculean task, to say the least. As long as there is football and scumbags with a fetish for the sport, I suspect corruption there will not go away so easily.