In the on-going, and long overdue, corruption investigations into the paying of bribes and other cash or forwarding of project funding requests in FIFA, it seems only one man could survive. Especially with an election and internal power struggle looming. For now, that man is Sepp Blatter. It seems Mohammed Bin Hammam, the head of the Asian soccer federation and chief official of the Qatari FA has been turfed out after being found guilty of bribery. The bribes, totalling around £800,000, are said to have been channelled through FIFA executive Jack Warner, the same man who eventually turned the Qatari in. Now there’s no doubt that Bin Hammam payed bribes, and in my mind there is no doubt that whole Qatari bid was based on bribes, but the fact remains that the only reason this came to light is because he challenged Blatter for leadership.
Blatter rules FIFA with an iron fist, and it should be surprising to Bin Hammam, who, bring from Qatar, should be used to working in a morally bankrupt oligarchy that his challenge failed because the court was payed off in patronage. They owe their positions to Blatter, and were unlikely to ever go against him.
As for Blatter, his use of the Ethics Committee to remove Bin Hammam as a challenger may be something he ultimately comes to regret. By exposing the corruption of FIFA’s internal audit process as a corrupt political institution in such a brazen way is not only a vulgar display of his own power, but undermines what little credibility it had. Many have long said that FIFA is corrupt and can’t police itself, but now there is real evidence that this is true. You only need to look at the photos of the brown envelope that Jack Warner took to understand why.
For my part, I hope Baltter resigns, or even better is found guilty along with the rest of the executive committee by a credible independent inquiry. Just remember, Sepp says “there is no crisis.”
Written by: Matthew Wall, editor, soccerprose.com
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