FIFA Meets, Changes Nothing

Friday, October 29, 2010 | View Comments
FIFA President Sepp Blatter speaks during a news conference in Singapore August 11, 2010. Blatter is an invited guest of the Singapore Youth Olympic committee. The inaugural Youth Olympics will be hosted in the city-state from August 14 to 26. REUTERS/Vivek Prakash (SINGAPORE - Tags: SPORT OLYMPICS SOCCER)

FIFA wrapped up their planned Executive Committee meetings today with a press conference in Zurich, where it was announced that the December 2 vote on World Cup bids for 2018 and 2022 would go ahead as scheduled. Despite a barrage of questions as to the fairness of the vote, and though he admitted that combining the voting on 2018 and 2022 was a mistake in retrospect, Sepp Blatter and FIFA did little to assuage fears of corruption.

The vote will remain a secret ballot affair. Blatter indicated that there was never serious consideration given to delaying the vote; things will go forward as planned, with only the fate of the two men ensnared by The Sunday Times sting, and therefore the number of voters on the Executive Committee, in doubt. Amos Adamu of Nigeria and Reynald Temarii of Tahiti will have their fates decided next month by FIFA's Ethics Committee, and if their suspensions are extended or made permanent, the World Cup bid will be voted on 22 members rather than 24.

The rules agreed upon by the Executive Committee for December 2nd's vote:

  • The 2018 vote will take place first, then the 2022 one. The vote will be by secret ballot and all eligible members of the FIFA Executive Committee can vote in both ballots
  • To win the right to host the competition, a bidder must obtain an absolute majority (50% + 1) of the votes of the FIFA Executive Committee members present
  • In the event of a tie when only two bidders remain, the FIFA President will have the casting vote
  • For any voting round in which an absolute majority is not achieved, the bidder with the lowest number of votes will not progress to the next voting round
  • If there is a tie for the lowest number of votes in any round, an intermediate voting round will be conducted to determine which of the tied bidders does not progress
  • When the final decision on the host has been taken, the result will be put in two envelopes and taken by the notary to the “Messe Zurich”, where they will be handed over to the FIFA President for the announcements

Prior to the voting each bidder will give a 30 minute presentation, which will be broadcast on  The United States will present on December 1st at 17:00 CET (11:00 AM EST).


Today's press conference was a clear indication that things will be business as usual for FIFA.  Blatter's coloring of The Sunday Times as disrespectful and of FIFA as the victims belies the entitlement felt at the top levels of the game.  The controversy has done little but require that Blatter, Valcke, and others face tough questions on the issues at hand, though they naturally dodged those questions whenever possible.

Where the United States stands now, with the possibility of two votes removed (Tamarii's vote was generally presumed to be for Australia, and Amadu's was a crucial swing vote due to Africa's lack of participation in the bidding for 2018 and 2022) is unclear.  Vote-trading, vote-buying, and general corruption can always be presumed with FIFA, making predicting the outcome of the bidding process nearly impossible.

Everything is back to square one, with even any punishment of Tamarii and Adamu in doubt; by delaying a decision until next month and putting more time between the scandal and the hearings, FIFA appears to be dragging their feet.  It would shock no one if Temarii and Adamu are allowed to vote on December 2nd.

Ultimately, there is no one to hold FIFA's feet to the fire.  Even allegations of corruption and vote-selling, with video footage in evidence, will have little effect on how the organization operates.

To view the press conference, go here (though I don't know why would). 
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