Friday, June 5, 2015

Sepp Blatter resigns: Ding dong, the king is gone

I was asked to write this blog immediately after news of the FIFA scandal broke preceding the general election.

I thought to wait.

Despite strong objections from UEFA and of course the Americans amongst others, nothing could stop the inevitable; Blatter was re-elected without much fanfare or surprise.

Gabriele Marcotti, a writer I regularly follow, titled his column ‘Sepp Blatter wins FIFA election but football is the real loser’. My Noel Coward’s wit intact, thoughts began to spill out in concurrence with the general gist of Marcotti’s article only for rumblings to emerge that Blatter was under immense pressure to resign.

I thought to wait.

Sepp Blatter resigns’ the unanimous scream from across the world. Ding dong, just like that, the king is gone. Like most dictators before him, be it from the corporate or political world, he couldn’t quite quit while he was ahead. Having joined FIFA in 1975 and elected to lead perhaps the most powerful sporting body in the history of sport in 1998. Blatter’s reign has been as contentious as it was unnervingly long.

FIFA is corrupt and the world knows it. Long before American officials had their Swiss counterparts extradite 14 officials on federal racketeering charges, it was the most acknowledged dirty little secret. The question, if any, could possibly remain after the coverage is, why now?

The hosts for the next two World Cups are Russia (2018) and Qatar (2022). Both bids were awarded simultaneously. Both were huge upsets. It was to be England in 2018. How could it not be? Even the Queen asked nicely. I mean she’s the Queen.

Secondly, who wants to go watch a World Cup in Qatar. I mean it’s Qatar. It makes Islamabad seem like an exciting prospect. Less seriously, it would need to be the first winter World Cup in FIFA’s history. Every league around the world would need to change their local league schedule. Billions of dollars at stake, the biggest footballers on the world involved. This was a stupid idea. How did Blatter get the votes?

No one knows what happens next. The only logical step would be for the new president to call a ‘mulligan’ on that play and redo the entire bidding process. However, when the biggest sporting event in the word is involved, logic is never a forgone conclusion.

Speaking of which, who should be the new president? Michel Platini, the current UEFA chief would top the ‘most popular’ poll. He will have little time to act, as Blatter is set to announce the date for a forthcoming special election.

Here I was thinking it was going to be a dull offseason. Let the good times roll.

For all those rejoicing Blatter’s demise, all I can say is, think about it and wait. A lot can happen in a day.

from The Express Tribune Blog

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