Friday, 27 May 2011

You get the brushes, I'll get the whitewash.

No, not another post about the shenanigans going on at LPUK.

It seems like only a couple of days ago that I posted about the corruption investigation going on at FIFA.

Mainly because it was only a couple of days ago that I posted about the corruption investigation going on at FIFA.

Well, I'll give Bin Hammam 10/10 for havoc raising, but 0/10 of originality.

You see, Mohamed Bin Hammam, the head of the Asian Football Confederation is standing for election as the President of FIFA next Wednesday. The current incumbent, Swiss Sepp Blatter takes a dim view of this. Since Joao Havelange, the previous President and part-time Jabba the Hutt impersonator unseated the old gent, blazer and general duffer, Sir Stanley Rous in 1974, it has sort of been an unwritten rule that whilst there is a Presidential election once every four years, you don't stand unless the incumbent announces his intention to toddle off. Even then it appears to be more of an annointing (usually with Adidas boot-oil*) than a proper election.

Bin Hammam has broken a golden rule and Blatter obviously decided to punish it for him by bringing in the 'Ethics Committee', an anti-corruption force with such a poor reputation that even OLAF point at them and piss themselves laughing.

Jack Warner has been pulled into it as well. He's a thoroughly unattractive man, just look at his record at how he blows hot and cold towards the FA and the UK in general.

Not to be outdone it appears that Bin Hammam has pulled the same trick on Blatter now.

As far as I can make out all three of them are as corrupt as each other. The whole organisation is lousy with corruption. I find as I grow older my love for the game diminshes, not just because of the corruption amongst the blazers, but also because of the antics of the players and managers, both on and off the pitch. I still get a little angry at the naked feathering of nests, at the end of the day football is only a game and you have a very easy choice to consume or not, but it is the world game - and at the risk of sounding like a FIFA promo video, it really can be a force for good. The sport and its supporters deserve better.

Quite how any election can go ahead now on Wednesday and have even a pretence of credibility is beyond me. There may well be a third man sat in the wings, thanking his lucky stars that things have turned out so well, make no mistake Blatter, bin Hammam and Warner are hugely powerful people in the organisation.

From what I can see this is a problem to a lesser or greater extent with administrators in most sports, they seem to be the only class who are more venal and corrupt than politicians, or perhaps because of a lack of accountability and that because at the end of the day, it really doesn't matter, they just aren't as polished as hiding it as politicians.

It is unfortunate that it is easy to tar them all with the same brush. I feared the worst when Michel Platini, a sublime player and half-way sensible chap took on the top job at UEFA (Union of European Football Associations), it remains to be seen what sort of administrator he'll turn out to be. However, the use of the patented Wolfers Trophy Test is good indicator. To his credit, Platini has gone on record to say he prefers a Wembley style affair where the victorious team in a final climbs to a balcony rather than an on-pitch stage, this simplifies matters no end, but watch an administrator handing a trophy to a winning captain. If they get out of the bloody way before the captain raises the trophy skywards and the confetti goes off, it is a good thing, if he strives to keep a grubby mitt on it whilst the captain initiates the celebrations, this is a bad thing and shows how desperate he is to be part of the action.

Platini seems to be in the former camp. But he is one of the very few world class players who has been that man with the trophy in his hand on his own merit, to move into administration. One can only question why the likes of Beckenbauer (although he has been active in the DFB), Charlton R, Van Basten, Zoff et al haven't made the move as well. Perfectly intelligent and capable people, could it be they view the administrators with the same disdain and don't want to get involved?

One thing is for sure, this whole affair promises to make the Salt Lake olympics scandal look like a storm in a teacup. At least there there was no cash changing hands. I think for the good of the game it would be best if the whole show at FIFA was laid waste and the organisation started over. Unfortunately I think the whole thing will be a whitewash, the message will have been sent out by Blatter that if you want a career at FIFA, you don't stand against him.

If you're interested in the ongoing story, I can heartily recommend 'Foul' by Andrew Jennings, a real jaw dropper. Jennings is not a well liked man at FIFA, so he must be doing something right.

*Blatter is very much an Adidas man, the sportswear company have enormous power in the organisation, no-one else gets a look in.

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