FIFA have re-elected Sepp Blatter for another term as President of the governing body responsible for the organisation of football’s major international tournaments, including the World Cup. Despite the arrest of senior FIFA colleagues on major corruption charges, Blatter refused to stand down or withdraw from the presidential race and despite voting going to a second round, his only other contender for the top job has withdrawn.
UK Prime Minister David Cameron, said in Berlin on Thursday that the Fifa president should quit “the sooner the better” and Greg Dyke, the chairman of the English Football Association, told the BBC: “Sepp Blatter has run this organisation for 16 years, and for all of those 16 years, there have been levels of corruption. Sepp Blatter is not the man who is going to be able to change that.”
SFA chief executive Stewart Regan says boycotting future World Cups is one of the options being considered by Uefa, Europe’s governing body, should Blatter win (which he ultimately did). “There could, of course, be a rival body,” Regan told BBC Scotland. “There could be threats of not participating in competitions. There are a number of options.”
Swiss prosecutors have launched a separate investigation into the bidding process for the World Cup tournaments in 2018 in Russia and 2022 in Qatar. Many of Fifa’s major sponsors, including Coca-Cola, Visa, Adidas, McDonald’s, Hyundai Motor and Budweiser, have expressed concern over the investigations. After Mr Blatter was re-elected, Coca-Cola said in a statement that Fifa “must now seize the opportunity to begin winning back the trust it has lost”.
I don’t know whether a boycott is realistic or not, but if the UK is serious about standing up and doing what is right to remove this corrupt organisation away from the beautiful game then I say we should boycott the next two World Cups. However, another option is on the table as former culture minister David Lammy, who plans to run for London mayor in 2016, said Qatar was “not a fit venue” for the World Cup following the alleged corruption. He said: “I want to see David Cameron and [London Mayor] Boris Johnson saying this isn’t OK and offering Britain as an alternative venue. “Let’s put a serious offer on the table for the home of football – Britain – to host the 2022 World Cup.”
I would only be open to Britain hosting the 2022 World Cup if Blatter is no longer at the helm of FIFA, either that or this country helps in the forming of a rival and corrupt-free football organisation to take the place of FIFA. With the US, Swiss and UK’s SFO now either investigating or participating in criminal proceedings against the nine indicted FIFA officials, I hope it is only a matter of time before FIFA implodes, the sponsors pull out and the whole dreadful organisation collapses in a heap.
We all suspected that recent World Cup bids were tainted by bribes, but thanks to the bravery of ‘supergrass’ Chuck Blazer (a member of Fifa’s executive committee until 2013 and now reportedly the source of some of the information allegedly implicating a host of other Fifa grandees) and the tenacity of Loretta Lynch, the US Attorney General, we football fans may now get some of the justice we richly deserve.
I won’t be completely happy until Blatter is behind bars and the 2022 World Cup has been switched away from Qatar. I unfortunately admit that it is now too late to wrestle the 2018 cup away from Russia, but neither country should have been awarded this prestigious event due to their ban on ‘gay propaganda’ and laws making homosexuality illegal respectively.