The Fall of the House of Blatter

It’s the gift that keeps on giving: I first blogged about football back in August, thinking that FIFA would soon sink beneath the waves, but still it rumbles on.  This is one of those peculiar situations where what should be the headline issue – football and its place in our modern society – has been completely eclipsed by another story, that of corruption at seemingly every level of FIFA.

In recent days, the world anti-corruption agency has been so outraged at the mere lip-service FIFA is paying to rooting out corruption in its ranks that it, Transparency International, has withdrawn its support.  In this article on 2 December, the BBC explains that TI recommended that FIFA appoint an independent overseer and re-examine past scandals – FIFA initially refused to do either.  The expert in question is certainly expert (I remember Mark Pieth when he ran Switzerland’s FIU – I may even have exchanged one or two breathless emails with him when I was a baby AML addict) but as he is being paid by FIFA he is hardly independent.  As for past scandals, it is hard to see how refusing to look at them can help FIFA’s cause; as put so succinctly by TI MD Cobus de Swardt: “An independent investigation into corruption allegations, past and present, is essential for FIFA to regain public credibility, as well as for trust in its future reform actions.”  Perhaps realising the storm that was brewing, Mark Pieth himself decided yesterday that looking at FIFA’s past is “necessary” to understand the “risk scenarios”, and confirmed that says he will meet soon with investigative journalists who are “experts on FIFA’s past”.  That should be an interesting meeting…

Meanwhile, on Sunday, Joao Havelange, who had served on the International Olympic Committee for nearly fifty years, resigned.  Mr Havelange had also put in 24 years as president of FIFA and is now its honorary president – and was about to face a ruling from the IOC’s executive board on whether or not he took bribes while he was FIFA president.  Oh what a tangled web we weave – not unlike a football net.

This entry was posted in Bribery and corruption, Money laundering and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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