By Tony Attwood
Fifa has just gone into the transfer business. In fact they have just brought in a whole new squad. A squad of new lawyers who claim that there is no suspicion of Gianni Infantino having done anything wrong, but rather that, for the good of Fifa, he needs defending against a rampant judiciary.
And yet, as ever, there is every chance that if you are in the UK you have never seen anything of this, except perhaps here, and one rather simple summary in the Guardian,, and I can only say I am sorry if you are in the UK or a country like the UK, where this is simply not considered to be a newsworthy event. In much of the footballing world it really is THE NEWS. The main news. The news that matters.
It is also unbelievable, and at times rather amusing, and indeed puzzling as to why the UK media doesn’t want this to come out and won’t cover the story. The whole central edifice of football is falling apart, the the media think that news of a couple of possible transfers, a complaint because Rennes played the national anthem at 3am, WHU are putting up Antonio’s salary, Bournemouth’s new manager, Celtic’s upset of player’s trip to Spain…
I am working on the thesis that there is a link that extends beyond the present story, into the FA and pressure from the FA onto the media. I have no proof of that of course, and absolutely no evidence. It is mere supposition based on nothing other than the fact that this story is turning into the BIG ONE and to a man woman and child, the media in England are not touching it. How come?
So while most of football is quite certain that Fifa President Gianni Infantino has a criminal investigation by the Swiss judiciary hanging around his neck, and he himself is seemingly trying to suggest that he has no problem at all, and that it is the Swiss judiciary that is a trifle confused, poor things the English media do transfers. Yet if nothing else, that Swiss is worth a look, and yet look is there nothing for you if you are dependent on the British media.
Anyway, there is loads to catch up on – this is after all the bit football corruption story of the year, if not the decade.
And it is not a simple one side affair of Infantino vs the forces of law and order, we also have the Basel governance expert Mark Pieth, whom Fifa launched an attack on at the weekend in the via the tabloid Blick. To get the idea, this is rather like the FA being accused of gross incompetence over its handing of the child sex abuse cases (which of course it has been) and then finding the Minister for Sport going to The Sun and placing a story defending himself there with innuendo and no facts. It is honestly bizarre.
Not surprisingly when Mark Pieth was asked for a comment he said, “Panic has broken out in Fifa,” which was a bit dull, but utterly true. Chickens of the headless variety come to mind.
Which is probably how one could classify the English media at this moment; a media who have devoted themselves for so many years to grovelling and freebooting in their press enclosures, with free match tickets and sumptuous meals (plus all you can drink, of course), and who now can’t bear the thought of being expected to turn on the hands that feed them. Or indeed to cover a story from Switzerland.
They want another jolly, they are fucked if they are going to let some upstart national like Switzerland (founded 1291) get in their way.
For the record, Mark Pieth is actually Professor of Criminal Law at the University of Basel, Switzerland and a prominent anti-corruption expert. Fifa’s attack on him was remarkably direct suggesting that as head of the Fifa reform commission from 2011 to 2013, Pieth collected a total of 2.5 million francs – “for nothing,” and it went straight into his pocket.
That statement, like so many others coming out of Fifa are Trumpisms – wild statements made off the cuff with no evidence to support the notion.
The European media quite frankly don’t seem to believe a word of this, and see it just as another wild lashing out by an increasingly beleaguered Fifa and an increasingly desperate Infantino. Indeed it appears that Infantino has now gone into hiding.
In response the Scotsman Alasdair Bell, Deputy Secretary General of Fifa spelled out the counter offensive saying, “Pieth and the Basel Institute on Governance have collected millions in fees from Fifa under Sepp Blatter.” It is getting dirtier than any Fifa fight I have covered since I started writing about the organisation, and believe me that is saying something.
I must say I cannot understand at all what the UK media is doing ignoring this, it is not only such enormous fun with the likely fall of several very powerful people, we quite possibly are watching the collapse of Fifa. And what does the UK population know about it? FA, to coin a phrase.
Indeed you may find it hard to believe but Infantino is now also being investigated for incitement to treason (which in Switzerland as everywhere else in the world is pretty heavy stuff). This is in relation to the three meetings with the Bern Federal Prosecutor Michael Lauber which we’ve been highlighting in these commentaries for weeks.
It really is amazing, and the UK media is simply not saying a word.
I’ll carry on with this in the next few postings since the UK media won’t handle it. And maybe I am wrong. Maybe Infantino is a pure and honourable man. But even if he is, this is still the best show on the continent.
- Federal court rejects challenges filed by Fifa secretary Jérôme Valcke.
- Fifa in chaos as Infantino’s illegal meetings revealed and chief Swiss lawman resigns
- Huge Fifa corruption story breaks; no report in English media!
- Why is it becoming so difficult to find a sponsor for new football stadium?
- Corruption flares up again in Italy, as Premier League figures don’t look too clever
- How much does a club have to spend on transfers to get a trophy?
- Does the team that is top after 14 games usually go on to win the league?
- How the Taliban infiltrated the World Cup and used it to maintain its war on women