The wheel’s still in spin…
By Tony Attwood
Very, very slowly there is a movement away from the reform of Fifa to a total revolutionary overthrow of the old regime.
It is of course something that is not at all welcomed by the entrenched powers – Fifa and Uefa, the FA and all the other useless and hopeless bodies. But slowly others are starting to realise that the corruption is so deep within football, that it really ought to be possible to run matters without bodies like this.
After all we have all known that these organisations are corrupt for years and years. The big question is, why did it take so long for the media to jump on the bandwagon, and drag the official bodies kicking and screaming behind them.
But because they were so slow on the uptake you won’t read too much in the media about this new move towards football without international and national bodies. They too have too much invested in the old regime.
However the sheer reality of what has been happening might yet just force a rethink. Consider David Conn in the Observer who reported that Michel Platini (the FA’s nominated man about Europe), had no written contract for the 2m Swiss francs Fifa paid him in 2011. Oh wouldn’t it be lovely to live in a world in which you did a job for £1.3m without anything in writing, knowing you could call in the debt when you were a little short of the old loose change?
And indeed it now emerges that Fifa did not pay Platini when the work was done because of the organisation’s “financial situation at the time”. Oh yes? I think not.
Fifa’s accounts for the 1999-2002 period – the financial statements are collated for the four years between World Cups – show an overall profit of 115m Swiss francs (£78m).
Oh but hang on. Apparently, according to Mr Conn, “Swiss law limits to five years employees’ claims for money owed. This view is understood to form part of both Lauber’s criminal proceedings and the investigation by Fifa’s ethics committee…”
In response to the developments the Mail on Sunday ran the headline
Michel Platini ‘facing ban for years’… FIFA source says new secret evidence ‘verging on the criminal’ can take down Sepp Blatter and leave UEFA chief in wilderness
Which I guess means that the FA will quickly back away into a corner and then come out claiming that it of course was never involved in any wrong-doing by association, and demand the moral right to lead English football into the quagmire.
And all this while the Mail proclaims
- High-up FIFA source says new secret evidence ‘verging on the criminal’ can take down Blatter and leave Platini in wilderness for years
- ‘Emotions are high at present but this is far more serious than anyone can imagine,’ said a high-ranking source
The Mail is also saying that “Secret internal FIFA documents obtained by the MoS show Blatter knew of alleged corruption involving Warner and kept it to himself.” Are we surprised? No, probably not.
Oliver Holt for the Mail on Sunday in a separate piece really did get closer to the heart of the matter when he said,
They still don’t get it, do they? Sepp Blatter, Michel Platini and Greg Dyke still don’t understand… They can’t see that it’s over. They have not learned that when the revolution comes and the gates to the palace are torn down, the usual platitudes of denial and outrage are not going to wash.
The gravy train has hit the buffers, boys, and everybody is rejoicing except you. Admit that the waters around you have grown. Nobody knows what the solution is yet, except that it is not Issa Hayatou.
Now I must say I do like the quick Bob Dylan quote tucked in the middle of all that, not least because I run an occasional Bob Dylan site which is in the business of doing reviews of many of the old fella’s songs. It’s called Untold Dylan – in case you were wondering. Anyway back to the plot…
Oliver Holt continues…
Maybe one day, Platini will manage to convince us that there was absolutely no connection between the fact that he received the payment of two million Swiss francs in February 2011 and that soon afterwards, UEFA, the organisation he still heads, declared their support for Blatter to be re-elected as FIFA president.
But the wheel’s still in spin [more Dylan, I like this guy] and even if he persuades us — and he and his advisers have done a risibly poor job so far on all counts — Platini seems to be unable to grasp that the mere existence of such a huge payment from Blatter, whatever its timing, is enough to damn him….
It is obvious to the vast majority of people who love football that the sport’s post-Blatter world cannot be led by Platini. Platini represents continuity. Football desperately needs change. Dyke, the FA chairman, cannot see that and is refusing to withdraw the FA’s support for the Frenchman to take over as FIFA president.
The fact Fifa itself and the world’s national football associations, including the British FAs, are still going along with that Blatter plan, coupled with a reform process wholly conducted from within and amounting to the rearrangement of some rules, demonstrates that – remarkably, given the unprecedented scale of scandal – Fifa and football are still in denial.
Wonderful though this new vision of the newspapers is (and one just wonders where these writers were five years ago when Untold was attacking international football pretty much in isolation) the problem is that the solution still seems to be – let’s have another Fifa.
It isn’t just the payment to Michel Platini, it is the €5 million to the Republic of Ireland for them not to protest too much. It is the FA’s endless support of Fifa, at first Blatter and then Platini. It is the fact that the Football Associations around the world who all knew Fifa was corrupt, kept on throwing money at them in order to try and get a tournament.
It is the fact that the English FA announced that it would not bid for a World Cup again while Blatter was in charge AS IF THAT WAS REMOTELY NEAR THE HEART OF THE MATTER. It is the fact that no one is holding the FA as culpable for throwing money at such an openly corrupt organisation.
As Damian Collins MP, Conservative member of Culture, Media and Sport select committee and founder member of NewFifaNow said, “Why we are where we are is because there is no proper auditing of money at Fifa.”
It is as Damian Collins MP, Conservative etc etc etc didn’t say. “We could all see it happening and none of us did a blind thing about it, because we all hoped that at one moment or another the Fifa junket would come by our back door, and we’d all hop aboard and make an awful lot of dosh, while having quite a good time.”
Any country that is serious about the issue of corruption in Fifa should investigate its own Football Association and how it has continued to support and push money into Fifa since the first major allegations against Fifa emerged in 2011. If they find, as obviously the will, that their FA bent the knee to Fifa despite knowing what a disgusting organisation it is, that FA should be sacked in its entirety and disbanded leaving the leagues to run themselves, and for there to be a 20 year moratorium on international football
All countries should agree that never again will they become part of any sporting organisation that claims it is above national laws and national tax requirements, whether that is the successor to Fifa or indeed to the Olympic Committee which uses the same tactics.
Footnote: I’m now off on hols for a week, and Walter is in charge. All articles received for publication by 3pm UK time on monday have been logged. For any others please to contact Walter direct.