Having recently been researching the FIFA scandals for a piece I was writing, I have a very clear vision of where FIFA itself will be heading come December, when Sepp Blatter is supposedly going to stand down
its President. Oddly enough, as sports editor of the TV news agency UPITN, I had dealings with Sepp when he was the General Secretary of the federation, and considered the ‘good guy’ to deal with, as opposed to the then-President, Joao Havelange of Brazil (whose in-laws and descendants figure in the current and other past scandals as well). Sepp was, I believe the first of a number of Secretaries General to replace powerful Presidents in major federations, a big step in the transition of international sport from the control of the blazers to the suits (and the aptly-named Chuck Blazer, who was more a suit, symbolises that).
You read it here first: come December, Blatter will be ‘spontaneously’ asked to remain by a number of federations, & present himself as the only man who can ‘clean up’ FIFA & steady the ship. He will be re-elected. He will probably present himself, and the sport, as being victimised by jealous agents of a country whose people do not understand the ‘beautiful’ game.
Blatter’s strategy in dealing with corruption has always been to wait out and ride out every scandal, cover it in a blancmange of committees, reports, commissions and noble sounding panels, and then wait for the game’s popularity to once again overshadow their venality. Because the game is venal from pitch to boardroom, built on cheating, corruption, and the domination of money, this will succeed, assuming the US & Swiss prosecutors don’t cut through legal machinations, extraditions, and red tape and get straight to the heart of the matter, which they won’t. The US investigation will be characterised as a local problem of Western Hemisphere’s corruption, the corrupt bidding and elections as Africa’s and Sepp will emerge to continue into his 80s as the capo di tutti capi, clean and shining like a dirty piece of schist.