As the FIFA Turns

Wednesday, May 25, 2011 | View Comments
Chuck and Jack in happier times (from Chuck's blog)
- Jason Davis

This site has yet to address the USMNT roster for the Gold Cup, and Bob Bradley certainly gave us plenty to talk about. Freddy returns. Fascinating.

But Bradley for his picks and framing this as this all-guns-blazing-tournament (he'll either lay waste and win the title or go down giving us all the middle finger) will have to wait. FIFA news is breaking.

Chuck Blazer has accused Jack Warner and Mohammed Bin Hammam of corruption. FIFA says it will investigate the two.

Let me repeat that. CHUCK BLAZER has accused JACK WARNER and FIFA PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE Mohammed Bin Hammam of corruption. Warner, Chuck's old buddy to whom he's been attached at the hip since time immemorial, and Bin Hammam, a man that presents a legitimate challenge to Sepp's hegemony over the world's most powerful sporting organization. Even slippery Sepp can't dodge the thirty-aught-six rounds of pure cynicism. This is FIFA. No one with a hint of who they are and what they do can take anything happening today at face value.

Not that it matters of course. The motivation for initiating an investigation in Bin Hammam is painfully obvious, hence the chorus of pshaws. Blazer fingering Warner is not only more intriguing because of their history, but potentially much more devious.

On to Travelin' Chuck; Blazer is CONCACAF vice president and has never failed to back Jack Warner. This is the man bringing corruption charges to the FIFA table? Seems a bit odd, and definitely out of character form someone who appears content to ride the FIFA gravy train with little no shame. What does Blazer have to gain from flipping on Warner?

A few possibilities, ranked in order of least to most likely, in my opinion.

1. Chuck has had enough of rampant FIFA corruption and wants to help clean up the organization. In other words, he's an honest guy, doing the right thing. Because he's Santa Claus. For real.

2. Blazer is flipping on Warner at Sepp's behest, taking out Blatter's presidential competition in the process, with a promise of future benefit*. In this scenario, we have to believe that Blatter is also turning on Warner, either because he believes Jack is moving his support to Bin Hammam, or because the corruption allegations against Warner have finally reached a tipping point. This only works if Blatter has enough dirt on Jack to ensure that the CONCACAF president won't spill what he knows about FIFA. Which is probably a lot.

3. It's all a sham to take out Bin Hammam and clear the way for Sepp to cruise to an easy victory - Warner will be ultimately exonerated (as usual). This makes the most sense because it doesn't require Blazer to turn on Warner, makes it look like FIFA is tackling corruption, and still accomplishes the task of eliminating Sepp's rival. As with scenario 2, Blazer (and perhaps Warner) must be getting something out of the deal. Regardless of what that might be*, Blazer is not stepping forward for altruistic reason. Dragging Jack into it might seem unnecessary, but it gives the whole thing much more weight than if Blazer accused Bin Hammam alone. Blazer "turning" on Jack is the thing that sells the sham.

It's 3 for me then. Though I don't expect anything to change in how FIFA operates, it will be fascinating to watch them eat one of their own. Sepp Blatter is a ruthless bastard of a man who just dropped a nuclear bomb on Mohammed Bin Hammam's head.

* Could it be the 2022 World Cup shifting to the US? If Bin Hammam is found to be guilty of the allegations, which include bribery, then the Qatar World Cup bid will face further scrutiny. Though the whistle-blower meant to meet with FIFA to give evidence about Qatar's cheating has changed his/her mind for the moment (for whatever reason - it would be easy to imagine multiple reasons why the meeting isn't happening), there's probably enough for Blatter to reverse the decision and hold a re-vote. While I thought it was nonsense to color his "not ruling out" of a re-vote as any substantive, perhaps he was setting the table for a switch.

If it's scenario 2, Chuck's reward could be any number of things, including the World Cup switch. I'm not sure how he could get the CONCACAF presidency out of this, since he would need the CFU block to get elected. I'm not aware of the procedure if a confederation president is removed due to malfeasance.

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