- Jason Davis

Zurich is the hub of the universe, at least for now. Blatter's reign of willful exploitation of the world's game is just a day away from a disheartening four year extension, and only the English (and now, as I write this, the Scottish) seem to care enough to question the process. Jerome Valcke's public pronouncements that everything is fine would be meme worthy if they weren't so depressing and even emoticons in his email to Jack Warner don't provide much glee. It has even become difficult to find the corner of our souls that will let us laugh at Sepp's usual antics; the stonewalling, the attempts to shame those who would question the leadership of FIFA, the odd turns of phrase that equate proper journalistic behavior with whatever it is Sepp thinks happens at a bazaar.

As the roof caves in on FIFA headquarters and the powers the be struggle to prop it up - all the while denying that it's caving in at all - it's startling to realize how much these men believe the game belongs to them. We, the fans, the players, the "people" in every sense of that word, participate at their pleasure. Their control is absolute, whether we acknowledge it or not, because their positions are so solidly entrenched. For every FA finally fed up enough to take a stand, there are fifty others happy to back dastardly men who deftly curried their favor for so many years. For the tiny federation subsisting on FIFA handouts, "corruption" is matter of perspective. The alternative, someone else in charge or a revamp of the system that could shift more control to larger countries/traditional powers, is akin to football death.

There are so many easy parallels. The Mafia comes to mind, as does Tammany Hall or any other corrupt political machine. FIFA is not unique in its evolution from administrative construct into mechanism for getting the people in charge whatever they want. History is littered with organizations that started out with beneficial aims only to congeal into a self-propagating mass of delusion and avarice. The scariest part about any powerful body like FIFA is that the principles convince themselves they're in the right now matter how ridiculous the corruption.

Which gives us surreal exchanges like those of Sunday and Monday, wherein Jerome Valcke and Sepp Blatter were each asked why Wednesday's presidential election hasn't been postponed. There are bribery allegations afoot and Blatter's only competition bowed out of the race. The prudent thing to do, even if it was possible to assume Blatter is an angel, is to wait until the smoke has cleared.

Without an actual answer to give, both men resorted to that most inane of tactics: answering a question with a question. "Why shouldn't we hold the election? Because the media says we shouldn't?"

Well, yes actually. The media, even the most rabid of the Anglo outlets, is a reflection of popular opinion on some level. Journalists, to a man, wouldn't be asking the question if postponing the election wasn't the natural thing to do under the circumstances. Not just in the interest of transparency and "what's right" but because FIFA could do so as a cynical ploy to simply reduce the withering heat. Most rational observers can't fathom the heights of megalomania Blatter, Valcke, Warner have reached, and why - if they're going to act like unrepentant bastards - they don't make a small concession here or there. It's not a matter of those men putting one over on the people that's galling. It's their stone cold belief that they have a right to act as they do.

Blazer and Warner continue to be the most fascinating figures in the saga. The former is no saint but has taken up the role of whistle-blower. Warner's talons are out, swiping at anything that moves. There's a foul veneer attached to everything they say or do, and the roles of accuser and accused have little bearing on stench. Insider info on how the two men operate in soccer circles and act in their free time only reinforces what we already believed; that these are people who take advantage of their positions and do little to help the game if it doesn't also line their own pockets. Lie, steal, and cheat, without any checks on their power, as long as they hand out a little here or there to the blocs that ensure their entrenchment.

I've come to think of Jack Warner as CONCACAF's version of Washington, DC "Mayor for Life" Marion Barry. Both men have been accused of, and caught in, improprieties on numerous occasions. Neither approach the usual standards for honest or upstanding, but each knows how to play their respective games and remained in power because of that. Barry's popularity baffles people not from DC or the surrounding area, but the love he garners has nothing to do with crack, or tax evasion, or shuffling city contracts to personal friends; it has to do with the man's ability to convince the disenfranchised people of the city that he'll look out for them. Warner does the same in CONCACAF, maintaining the support of the island nation FAs because they know he represents them. Warner has votes in his pocket. Barry couldn't steer clear of the American justice system. Warner has had no trouble avoiding any serious FIFA sanction.

Until now. Sepp says it's not a crisis, the rest of us know it is. What Jack does next, after attempting to blow both the Qatar World Cup bid and Jerome Valcke (aka Smiley) out of the water, should be fascinating.

Credit to the English and Scottish FAs for trying to apply pressure and force FIFA into acting appropriately. Points off for failing to nominate an alternative candidate before all of this went down. The latter also goes for US Soccer, who has yet to make a peep. Too many at Soccer House remain afraid to rock the boat. Leaving FIFA might not be the answer, at least not on our own, but saying nothing only makes the USSF look like a patsy for Blatter's continued leadership of FIFA's soccer hegemony.

I love this idea, even if I don't think it will ever happen.

blog comments powered by Disqus
    KKTC Bahis Siteleri, Online Bahis



    Privacy Policy